Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary May 1828

Saturday 31 May 1828

Quiet the two last nights. All packed & at breakfast at 9½. Paid the bill. Off at 10 ¼ in a hackney coach from Gianetti’s Lodgings, 35 Grosvenor Street, Edinburgh, where we have really been very comfortable, nothing in the world to find fault with. The man drove us to the Trinity chain pier, Leith (2 miles) in 19 minutes. Handsome streets & houses almost all the way. The chain pier good & a very great convenience but not so long, so broad nor ½ so handsome as that at Brighton, yet most convenient for passengers embarking. A broad covered place at the end from which one descended by steps under cover down to the vessel. On board about 40 minutes before we were off & almost sick with the smell of the engine before the vessel began to move. The morning steam packet full of passengers but a small vessel. Highish wind and right against us.

The Old Chain Pier, Alexander Nasmyth, 1821
Trinity Pier of Suspension, Samuel Brown, 1821. The Edinburgh philosophical journal, Volume 6

Off at 11½. Too squeamish to look very much about me. Edinburgh, the coast of Fife, very fine. The country, houses & villages very picturesque. The fortified islet of Inchgarvie, just before reaching North & South Queensferry, very picturesque. A little beyond, Hopetown house, on the left, “Abercorn Kirk, near to where the Roman wall terminated, & Blackness Castle, seated up a long narrow peninsula,” 347/415 Scottish Tourist. “In the far distance, the summits of the Grampians are seen above the intervening Ochils,” 347/415. “Between Alloa & Sterling the windings of the river, usually called the Links of Forth, are uncommonly fine; the course by water is 19½ miles, & by land only 7,” 350/415. A little below Stirling, the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey. The belfry & a small part of the walls all that remain. Given by James 6 to the Earl of Mar, bought in 1709 by the magistrates of Stirling for the benefit of Cowan’s hospital (350/415). Abbey Craig (right) very fine. Stirling castle as seen from here seems approached by a long line of steps of hill rising 1 above another on the mountain’s back. The town in one long line midway its side.

Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling, C. Randall. From History of Stirling, 1812

Landed at 5 as near the town as we could, but had 4 or 5 minutes walk to Gibb’s The Golden Lion. We had been 5½ hours in making the voyage, highish wind right against us all the way. A very fine sail. Nothing in the voyage up the Thames to London to equal it in point of scenery. From 5¾ to 7 walked (alone) thro’ Stirling past the Greyfriars, a large handsome gothic building by James 5, now divided into 2 Presbyterian churches. Thence to the castle. No part of the interior of the building now shewn. All converted into barracks & stores & Lieutenant General Grey’s (the governor) house. The depot of the 42nd highland regiment. The chapel, the armory. Might have seen this, nothing but modern arms in it. Peeped into the lower rooms of it. Saw John Knox’s pulpit. Much the same as the one in the museum of antiques in Edinburgh. The view from the castle yard what travellers go to see. Very fine but not “the finest in the world,” 53/415. I like that from Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh better. In returning walked all round under the castle along the handsome gravel walk. The rock on this side (the south) very fine, quite perpendicular. The Round Table on this side still very distinct. Stirling contains about 5,000 inhabitants. A nice town enough. Some nice handsome looking small houses built on the Edinburgh road. Waterloo Place a nice part of the town. Several widows & single ladies there to live cheap. Coals to be had for next to nothing. Dinner at 7¼. Fine day till about 6½ then a slight shower & after I got home a rainy evening & night.   

View from Stirling Castle. Photograph by Timo Newton-Syms. That’s the Wallace Monument on Abbey Craig in the distance.

You can read the original diary entry here:

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4 thoughts on “Saturday 31 May 1828

  1. Such a pleasure to enjoy her observations.
    Again, knowing Stirling and the castle adds to the sense of connection.
    And her comparisons to travels in England.
    Nothing to compare travelling up the Thames to London.
    Exquisite!

  2. The illustrations are a great addition! They really compliment Anne’s descriptions. Would have been amazing seeing all this stuff back then. Travel can’t be as adventurous now.

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