Grassmarket Hostelries – Watercolour in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine

The Grassmarket used to be a rather rough area in the centre of Edinburgh due to its many pubs. The pubs remain but attempts have been made to clean up the reputation of the area. A few years ago it would have been unusual to see folk sitting outside enjoying a drink and a bite to eat but my scene shows just that. The pub, in question, is called “The Last Drop” taking its name from the place where public executions took place just near where these trees are. Mind you, we were civilised in those day. The scaffold had a curtain around the lower half so the crowds, sometime as much as 30,000, could not see the body fall after it disappeared through the trapdoor. How considerate! One of the other places is named after Maggie Dickson. She was sentenced to hand in 1728 for “Failing to declare a pregnancy”. In those days, family were allowed to reclaim the body straight after execution and when she was being taken away, for burial, noises were heard coming from her coffin. Rumours abounded that the hangman had, somehow, “botched” the job for a reward but, since people could not be executed twice (under Scot’s law) “Half Hangit Maggie” was reprieved and lived for another 35 years.