This September, I visited the Advocates Library at Parliament House on the Royal Mile. It was open to the public during Edinburgh’s annual Doors Open Days. I had long wanted to visit Advocates’ Library and was planning to contact Parliament Hall to arrange one, but DOD made this much easier!
The philosopher who first brought me here to Edinburgh, David Hume, was the keeper of the Advocates’ Library from 1752-1757. The Library was founded by George Mackenzie in 1682. Now strictly a law library, it originally acted as Scotland’s library of deposit, which, since 1925, is now the function of the National Library of Scotland.
The original building which housed the Advocates Library burned down in the great fire of 1824. Just as it happened with the destruction of two-thirds of the Library of Congress’ original collection in 1851, once Thomas Jeffersons’ private library, the surviving books from the original Advocates’ Library collection retain scorch marks. The library I visit today was completed in 1830 and designed by renounced Edinburgh architect William Playfair.
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