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Celebrating Scotland's written words

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Robert Burns
Sir Walter Scott
Robert Louis Stevenson
Lady Stairs' Close is hidden away in the centre of Edinburgh, up a narrow staircase near the Royal Mile. Here you'll find a small courtyard and a tall, atmospheric house. It was built for a Mr William Grey in 1622. The original carving he placed above the door is still visible. It says "Feare The Lord and Depart From Evil". It seems though, that Mr Grey feared more than just the Lord. He equipped his new home with a primitive form of protection against burglars. The building's main staircase features deliberately uneven steps, making it very difficult to run up and down them.

Lady Stairs Close
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This old place was eventually transformed into The Writers' Museum. It shows off the literary stars that have emerged from Scotland in the last couple of centuries. Three people in particular are given special attention. These are Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. All three of these men lived in Edinburgh at one time or another, giving them a special connection to the city.
The most famous of the trio is probably Robert Burns. He started life as a humble farmer, and ended it as Scotland's favourite poet. When the first volume of his work was published, it instantly achieved critical success. Burns soon moved to Edinburgh, into a house that's just across the street from the museum. This former residence has since been demolished and rebuilt. Its new incarnation is a pub called Deacon Brodie's Tavern.
The life and achievement of Robert Burns is celebrated every year, on January 25th. Scottish natives gather to sing songs, eat haggis and recite his work. The Writers' Museum has his old wooden writing desk, where he created the poems that are still so well remembered.
A generation later came Walter Scott, who achieved success as the author of historical novels. In fact, it's likely that he invented historical novels in the first place, with his debut Waverley. At the time, he didn't want to spoil his already established reputation as a poet, so he published the books anonymously. This quickly became the worst kept secret in Scotland. His exhibition includes the actual printing press on which the Waverley novels were originally created.
The third and final star of the museum is Robert Louis Stevenson, an author of uncommon imagination. Despite suffering from terrible illnesses, he kept his mind sharp. From its depths came such classic tales as Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The museum contains galleries on all three of these authors, full of photographs, information and original manuscripts. The tributes carry on outside, in Makar's Court. The flat stone slabs of this square are engraved with the names of Scotland's literary greats. It's like Edinburgh's very own Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Visitor Information
The Writers’ Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm (and limited hours on Sundays during the Festival). Entry is FREE. Lady Stair’s Close, Edinburgh EH1 2PA. Tel: 0131 529 4901

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