What is the real mary kings close Edinburgh – The Real Mary King’s close in Edinburgh is a “close” in a historic part of Edinburgh on the Royal Mile. The close was partially demolished and the foundations of the Royal Exchange was built upon the close’s top.

The close, most likely due to the fact that it is a steep hill – was not levelled down the ground level.

Many of the old buildings still remain beneath the Royal Exchange’s foundations with open doors and cavernous dark windows opening onto the hidden street below.

It is a dark and mysterious place. Natural daylight has not touched the cobbles of Mary Kings Close for centuries once it was hidden and used for part of the construction of the Royal Exchange.


About the Real Mary King’s Close

Mary’s Kings Close in Edinburgh is both historically fascinating as it is haunting. I was told of tales of ghosts, poisonous wallpaper (yes really) and various other stories from its lively past.

Based on the information from the tour I undertook from a visit to Mary Kings Close I illustrated a picture inspired by my visit.

I couldn’t resist…

With past commissions being involved in history and historical topics, I need to draw a depiction of Mary King’s Close.

What is the real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh? For me, It was a place of haunting fascination and creative inspiration for my artwork.

Real Mary Kings Close Artwork

What is the real Mary Kings Close in Edinburgh images - artwork

This pencil drawing for the Real Mary King’s Close was inspired by how I would have imagined an unburied street from all those years ago. (1650’s)

A bustling area filled with action and activity. The man in the drawing (sack carrier) is walking up the steep hill with a recent purchase for rabbit stew or rabbit broth. The sack is potentially filled with potatoes.

What is the real Mary Kings Close in Edinburgh illustration close up

The Close was also situated near an old Loch bottom of the hill that has since been turned into gardens.

If you are unfamiliar with Mary King’s Close, it was built on a very steep hill on the Royal Mile. Hence, in the drawing, you see the street vanishes somewhere at the bottom.

the real Mary Kings Close in Edinburgh olden days

It is my belief, that the fact that it was built on the hill, is in part why the real legend exists to this day.

Mary Kings Close was fascinating and inspirational to me.

Being generally interested in historical fiction, secrets, and folklore how could possibly resist not drawing the street scene from the old town?

Thank you Edinburgh and thank you Mary King’s Close.

What is the Real Mary Kings Close Edinburgh geography

As mentioned in the opening sentence Mary Kings Close is a street with houses that were buried under the Royal Exchange.

Imagine putting houses and shops on a very steep hill.

Now remove the roofs of these houses – level off.

Now put a platform on the top and build upon the houses without their roofs. That is one of the biggest hidden cellars you are likely to find.

And as I mentioned before, it was probably easier to remove the tops for the buildings and build upon them than to knock them down and build them again.

Historical drawing for commission

I am always on the lookout for my next commission. If you would like any help with a drawing for a historical piece please get in touch and I will get back to you. Or if you would like to purchase a print feel free to get in touch.

Hire freelance historical illustration

What is the Real Mary King’s close Edinburgh? – Short answer

The real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh is a hidden street – a close. On the Royal Mile. It is now hidden beneath the Royal Exchange.

Other Art & Historical Projects

Copyright Jimm Odell – JD illustration – What is the real mary kings close edinburgh