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To accompany the exhibition Classical Edinburgh. The National Trust for Scotland’s Georgian House in 7 Charlotte Square presents its visitors with a vivid evocation of life in Edinburgh’s New Town during its classical heyday. Yet in many ways this seemingly authentic experience is a work of the imagination – the result of a remarkable effort by the Trust in the mid-1970s to transform what was, in fact, a relatively undistinguished and much-altered building into a major visitor attraction. This talk will explore the fascinating story of how and why they took on this challenge, showing how a distinguished cast of strong personalities planned, plotted and struggled—against each other, their building contractors, and the scepticism of a new breed of conservation professional—to realise their deeply held and often conflicting visions of eighteenth-century Scottish urban life. Dr James Legard is an architectural historian and heritage consultant at Simpson and Brown, Edinburgh’s leading conservation architecture practice. Since joining Simpson and Brown, he was worked on conservation plans and heritage statements for a number of significant historic buildings, including Edinburgh’s Georgian House museum.

Free but booking is essential. To book visit or phone the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993. This tour has full disabled access.

Imagining Classical Edinburgh: The National Trust for Scotland and the Making of the Georgian House