The lost garden

We are often asked if there was a garden behind the Georgian House. Today visitors look out on a private car park but what did the Lamont family and their neighbours see?

All of the terraced houses on the north side of Charlotte Square once boasted a residential garden to the rear of their homes. An 1819 map shows that the garden of No.7 had a gently curving path leading to an oval footpath. Surrounding the gravel footpath were small trees, an abundance of shrubs, flowerbeds with vibrant colours and a central grassy lawn.

The gardens of Charlotte Square would not have been working gardens producing fruit, vegetables or herbs, but ornate spaces with designed landscapes. They were a quiet space where the families could stroll, while their children played and where nursery maids could entertain young children. They were also used as a display of wealth and would have been shown off regularly to guests and acquaintances.

At the bottom of the garden, on the other side of the boundary, was the grand estate of the Earl of Moray. Looking out of the parlour windows, the family had an expansive view of the Moray pleasure gardens, of mature trees and parkland sloping down to the wooded Water of Leith and the village of Stockbridge. Beyond this, they could see open countryside, the Firth of Forth and the hills of Fife.

The garden was also of great benefit to the servants. It was a private space for them all year and in the summer months the central lawn was essential for drying clothes and sheets.