Princes Street

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Image:Edinburgh-Princesstreet.jpg
Princes Street, as viewed facing west from the Scott Monument.
Image:Wellington Statue.jpg
The Iron Duke in bronze by John Steell outside the Balmoral Hotel

Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland, and its main shopping street. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh's New Town, stretching around 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lothian Road in the West to Leith Street in the East. The street is mostly closed to private cars, with public transport given priority. The street has virtually no buildings on the south side, allowing views of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, and the valley between.

[edit] History

Princes Street was originally to be named St. Giles Street after the patron saint of the City of Edinburgh. However, King George III knew of a slum neighbourhood called St. Giles in London and objected. It was subsequently named Princes Street after his sons, the Duke of Rothesay (later King George IV) and Frederick, Duke of York.

During the construction of the New Town, the polluted waters of the Nor Loch were drained, and the area was converted into public gardens called Princes Street Gardens. The gardens are one of the green spaces in the heart of Edinburgh.

The wider George Street (parallel to Princes Street) was originally intended to be the main commercial street and major thoroughfare, but its neighbour to the south overtook due to its breathtaking views over the Gardens and to the Old Town.

[edit] Shopping

Several UK high street brands are located along Princes Street. Marks & Spencer, Bhs, Debenhams and House of Fraser department stores can be found at the west end. Jenners department store was an Edinburgh institution, surving the disappearance of many other local department stores, such as PTs and RW Forsyths. However, House of Fraser purchased the "World's Oldest Independent Department Store" store in 2005, and it remains to be seen whether it remains a Jenners store or is fully integrated into House of Fraser. Other shops on Princes Street include USC, GAP, Clarks, Next and Boots.

There has been controversy over buildings from the later half of the 20th century on Princes Street: a good example being the Marks & Spencer building. Some claim that the 1960s architecture spoils Princes Street and should be ripped out; others enjoy the mix of styles, and see these buildings as good examples of 1960s architecture. Another problem has been that upper floors are often used for storage, rather than as office, retail or living space. Plans are currently underway to revitalise the street so that it can compete with Glasgow.

[edit] Princes Street Gardens and South Side

The gardens contain the Ross Band Stand (an amphitheatre), a war memorial and a floral clock, together with other attractions. Two of the National Galleries, the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland, are located at the foot of The Mound. Further along is the Scott Monument, an intricate building dedicated to the Scotsman who wrote the "Waverley" novels, after which is named Waverley station. Next to the station is the grand Balmoral Hotel, and the impressive Regent Bridge. The hotel has a counterpart, the Caledonian Hotel, just south of the west end of the street; this was built by the Caledonian Railway for their Princes Street Station, now closed.

Princes Street remains popular despite the fact that it has now fallen from its status as the most expensive place to rent shop space in Britain outside London. Princes Street may be one of the few streets in the UK to have an order of Parliament placed to prevent any further building on the south side to preserve the views.de:Princes Street fr:Princes Street

Princes Street

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