Edinburgh New Town and new towns in Scotland, 1767-2017

  • 9am - 5.30pm

  • Patrick Geddes Centre
    Riddles Court
    322 Lawnmarket
    EH1 2PG

2017 marked the 250th anniversary of James Craig's design for Edinburgh New Town. University of Picardy Jules Verne and University of Edinburgh, with other partners, organised a commemorative conference in 2017. We are now bringing an updated and modified version of this to Edinburgh itself.

Topics include: Edinburgh and the Enlightenment, new towns in Scotland through history, the conservation of Edinburgh New Town, interior design and people in the craft in Edinburgh New Town.

The conference will be opened by the French Consul in Edinburgh.

Speakers include Prof. Murray Pittock, Prof. Stana Nenadic, Prof. Richard Rodger, Prof. Allan MacInnes, Dr. Tony Lewis, Dr. Aonghus MacKechnie, Dr. Kirsten Carter McKee, Margaret Stewart, Dr. Sally-Anne Huxtable, Dr. Ranald MacInnes, Dr. Alistair Fair, Dr. James Simpson, Nicholas Uglow, David Black, Dr. John Lowrey, Dr. Clarisse Godard Desmarest

Of the following institutions: University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Historic Environment Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, Glasgow Museums, Simpson & Brown Architects


Conference Programme

9:00: Welcome: Dr. Clarisse Godard Desmarest & John Lowrey (Conference organisers), with French Consul in Edinburgh & Dr. Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe


Edinburgh: The Enlightenment City

9:30 Prof. Murray Pittock (University of Glasgow): Edinburgh: smart city of 1700

10:15 Questions

10:30 Margaret Stewart (University of Edinburgh): City and state in the designs of the 6th Earl of Mar (1675-1732)

10:50 Dr. Tony Lewis (Glasgow Museums): Some perceived relationships between the Georgian New Towns of Glasgow and Edinburgh

11:10 Questions



The New Town of Edinburgh in the 19th century

11:40 Prof. Stana Nenadic (University of Edinburgh): The Spatial and Social Characteristics of Craft Businesses in Edinburgh's New Town c.1780-1850

12:00 Dr. Sally-Anne Huxtable (National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh) ‘A Jewelled Crown’ in Edinburgh’s New Town:  Phoebe Anna Traquair and the Murals of the Catholic Apostolic Church, 1893-1897

12:20 Prof. Richard Rodger (University of Edinburgh): New Light on the New Town: Place, Space and and Time c.1800

12:40 Dr. Kirsten Carter McKee (University of Edinburgh): After Craig’s Plan: The development of British Imperial ambition through the Third New Town of Edinburgh


13:15 Lunch


Conservation and cultural heritage

14:00 Dr. Ranald MacInnes (Historic Environment Scotland): Edinburgh: A Tale of One City?

14:20 Dr. James Simpson (Simpson & Brown Architects): 50 Years of Conservation and Enhancement

14:40 Nicholas Uglow (Simpson & Brown Architects): The National Galleries of Scotland, on the Mound: a historic building conservation

15:00  John Lowrey (University of Edinburgh): Commerce and Conservation: Edinburgh New Town in the early twentieth century

15:20 Dr. Clarisse Godard Desmarest (Université de Picardie - Institut Universitaire de France): Commemorating the founding of the New Town: 1767, 1967 and 2017

15:40 Questions



Planned new towns across Scotland

16:20 Dr. Aonghus MacKechnie (Historic Environment Scotland): Scotland’s planned towns and villages over the centuries

16:40 Prof. Allan MacInnes (University of Strathclyde): title tbc

17:00 Dr. Alistair Fair (University of Edinburgh): Citizenship, community and the new towns in post-WW2 Scotland

17:20 Questions

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