NT2573 : The Last Drop, Grassmarket

taken 10 years ago, near to Edinburgh, Great Britain

The Last Drop, Grassmarket
The Last Drop, Grassmarket
The pub's name is a clever pun on the fact that it stands close to the former site of public executions. The last man to be prematurely sent to his Maker in the Grassmarket was James Andrews on 4th February, 1784. These windows would have provided a grandstand view of the horrible spectacle.

"The town of Edinburgh, from the amazing height of its buildings, seems peculiarly formed to make a spectacle of this kind solemn and affecting. The houses, from the bottom up to the top, were lined with people, every window crowded with spectators to see the unfortunate man pass by. At one o'clock the City Guard went to the door of the Tolbooth, the common gaol here, to receive and conduct their prisoner to the place of execution, which is always in the Grassmarket, at a very great distance from the prison. All the remaining length of the High Street was filled with people, not only from the town itself, but the country around, whom the novelty of the sight had brought together. On the Guard knocking at the door of the Tolbooth, the unhappy criminal made his appearance. He was dressed in a white waistcoat and breeches, usual on these occasions, bound with black ribands, and a night-cap tied with the same. His white hairs, which were spread over his face, made his appearance still more pitiable. Two clergymen walked on each side of him, and were discoursing with him on subjects of religion. The executioner, who seemed ashamed of the meanness of his office, followed muffled up in a great coat, and the city guards, with their arms ready, marched around him. The criminal, whose hands were tied behind him, and the rope about his neck, walked up the remaining part of the street. It is the custom in this country for the criminal to walk to the gallows, which has something much more decent in it than being thrown into a cart, as in England, and carried, like a beast, to slaughter. The slow, pensive, melancholy step of a man in these circumstances, has something in it that seems to accord with affliction, and affects the mind forcibly with its distress. When the criminal had descended three parts of the hill which leads to the Grassmarket, he beheld the crowd waiting for his coming, and the instrument of execution at the end of it. He made a short stop here, naturally shocked at such a sight, and the people seemed to sympathize with his affliction. When he reached the end, he recalled his resolution; and, after passing some time in prayer with the clergyman, and once addressing himself to the people, he was turned off, and expired. So great is the abhorrence of the office of executioner in this country, that the poor wretch is obliged to be kept three or four days in prison, till the hatred of the mob has subsided, and his act is forgotten." -- Edward Topham, Letters From Edinburgh, 1775

[Note: The man Topham saw executed was John Reid of Peeblesshire who had been convicted of sheep-stealing. He was unsuccessfully defended by the young James Boswell, who, convinced of the innocence of his first criminal client, hatched a plan to recover Reid's corpse immediately after execution and have it resuscitated by surgeons. He was finally dissuaded from this course of action by a friend who warned him that the condemned man had become resigned to his fate and might well curse Boswell for bringing him back to life.]
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright kim traynor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for Large scale mapping
Change to interactive Map >
Grid Square
NT2573, 5682 images   (more nearby search)
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 20 August, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 21 August, 2010
Public house > Public house   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 254 734 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.8753N 3:11.7082W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 254 733
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Image classification(about): Geograph
This page has been viewed about 1175 times.
View this location: KML (Google Earth) · Google MapsExternal link · Bing MapsExternal link · Geograph Coverage Map · geotagged! More Links for this image
W Go E
thumbs up icon
You are not logged in login | register