Edinburgh New Town Eurowalk

Point C - Census of Italians in Scotland

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To do: maybe add one or two details from archive? Create separate stop for George and Hanover Street (see notes on stop F, David Hume).

Location: West Register House, between 17 and 18 Charlotte Square

Between 1933-1940 Mussolini made a census, called the “Censimento” of Italians living abroad, including in Scotland. The documents were later discovered in the archives of the Italian Consulate in Edinburgh and are believed to be the only copy of its kind in existence. It gives fascinating details of the lives of Italian families in Scotland at that time. The records were restored by the National Records of Scotland and the Italian Consulate, and are now accessible digitally.

Many Scots of Italian heritage are very well-known: Eduardo Paolozzi, artist, Armando Iannucci, writer and broadcaster, Nicola Benedetti, violinist, and Peter Capaldi, actor, to name just a few. Historian, Professor Sir Tom Devine said, “Since Italians first came to Scotland in the later nineteenth century, they have contributed enormously to Scottish society, religion, culture, education and, not least, to a new and welcome improvement in our cuisine”! (Visit Paolozzi’s statues and Scotland’s oldest Italian wine merchant on our Calton Hill EuroWalk!)

On your way to the next stop, you might notice the equestrian statue of Prince Albert, the German husband of Queen Victoria. You’ll also walk along George Street (named after King George of the House of Hanover) and part the headquarters of Church of Scotland at 121 George St. John Knox, the founder of this Presbyterian church, spent time as a prisoner of the French until ransomed by the English, and later became a follower of the reformer Calvin in Geneva.

Walk back 70 metres along the route you have just come. Turn right and continue clockwise round Charlotte Square until you come to George Street. Walk along George Street for about 200 metres then turn left down North Castle Street and walk 130 metres downhill. The Spanish Consulate General is on your right at 63 North Castle Street.

Picture credits: Vanessa Glynn