Destination: Edinburgh
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Famous People

They all came from Edinburgh

It's impossible to visualise life without the telephone system, invented by Alexander Graham Bell, or operations without anaesthesia, pioneered by James Young Simpson. John Knox reformed Scotland's religion and Douglas Haig commanded armies for Britain. Robert Adam, Henry Raeburn and Allan Ramsay designed and decorated the city itself. World-wide, people have been entertained by the romances of Sir Walter Scott and the detective stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Edinburgh's Famous

Mary, Queen of Scots

Born in 1542, Mary became queen when she was six days old and was brought up in France. She married the Dauphin in 1558 but returned to Edinburgh on his death in 1561. This was a time of political and religious unrest, and Mary believed the English throne, held by Elizabeth, was hers by right. To further her claim she married Lord Darnley, murdered in 1567, by whom she had a son, the future James VI. Mary then married the Earl of Bothwell, despite his implication in Darnley's murder. Trapped by further intrigue and the machinations of her enemies, Mary finally abdicated and was executed by orders of her cousin, Elizabeth, in 1587.

Robert Louis Stevenson

The famous Scottish author was born in Edinburgh in 1850, a sickly child, who nevertheless later attended Edinburgh University and qualified as an advocate in 1875. Ill health forced him abroad, and his travels both inspired his early books and led to his meeting with his future wife, an American divorcée 10 years his senior. Most of his best-loved works date from after their marriage, including Treasure Island and Kidnapped. In 1890 he settled in Samoa, where his health improved, and he was writing at the height of his mature powers when he unexpectedly died in 1894.

Sean Connery

The future James Bond drifted through various jobs, most famously that of a milkman, after leaving school, aged 13, in 1943. His first break saw him in the chorus of South Pacific, and his big chance came when he was cast as Ian Fleming's hero in the film version of Dr No in 1962. Now one of the cinema's major and most highly paid stars, Connery has long since left Edinburgh, though still remaining apparently loyal to his Scottish roots.


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