This week saw the historic St James’s Square ‘date stone’ removed, allowing construction work on the new Edinburgh St James development to continue. The stone, which dates back to 1779, is linked with architect James Craig, who is credited with the design of the First New Town in 1766. Craig laid out St James Square, most of which was demolished in the late 1960s, to make way for the St James Shopping Centre and the Scottish government offices known as New St Andrews House. The 1779 ‘date stone’ was salvaged from the demolition and placed on Leith Street where it has lived since.
The stone has now been carefully stored away until the £1 billion Edinburgh St James project completes in 2020, when it will be relocated to its original home in St James Square within the development. On completion, the scheme will include around 85 new shops, 20 restaurants, three new public squares, 150 homes and Scotland’s first luxury W hotel. The development also includes John Lewis, who will continue to trade throughout construction.