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Advocate's Library

Lying to the rear of the Signet Library behind Parliament Square is the Advocate's Library, which is visible from George IV Bridge.

The library was founded in 1682 by Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh and was originally located in Parliament Square, later occupying the Upper Library of what is now the Signet Library. The current building was begun in 1829 by William Henry Playfair (1789 - 1857) and once contained many rare and exceptional books. It was originally conceived to be much more than simply a legal library and was an important resource at the time of the Edinburgh Enlightenment. David Hume (1711-76) was a Keeper of the library and its facilities were greatly praised by the likes of Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881) and Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832). In 1925, the majority of the collection was gifted to form the core of the National Library of Scotland, which today lies between the Advocate's Library and George IV Bridge. The law books were retained for the use of the Advocates and the library remains an actively-used legal resource to the present day.


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