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Edinburgh's East End Junction

The junction at the east end of Princes Street is the meeting point of the A1, A7, A8 and A900.  All four roads form boundaries between zones used for the road numbering system, and this junction is now the only place in Great Britain where four zones meet at a single point.

The photos were taken during the week following the death of the Princess Margaret, so all the flags are at half mast.

Looking north along the A7 from North Bridge to the junction with Princes Street.

To the left is the Balmoral Hotel, formerly the North British Hotel.

In the middle, with the dome, is Register House

To the right is the old Post Office building.

Underneath the North Bridge is Waverley railway station - both the Hotel and Post Office had their own sidings.

There are three lanes on the approach to the junction, the left lane for the A8, middle lane for the A900 and right lane for the A1.

The dirty concrete block behind Register House is part of the St James Centre (see below)

Looking across the junction from the end of the A7 to the Wellington statue in front of Register House.
Detail of the sign opposite the end of the A7

None of these roads are still Primary routes, so the green signs are an anachronism.

Approaching the junction from the east, this is the only advance warning sign

The wall to the left, with the false windows, is the wall of the Calton Cemetry.

Looking down the A1 Waterloo Place towards the junction.

In theory, the left lane is left turn only, and the right lane is straight on and right, but it's widely ignored.

View across from the A900 to the old Post Office.

Notice the lines of white dots on the road to continue the two lanes from the A900 around onto the A7 and A8.  (Most drivers don't notice, and cut the corner anyway, turning right onto the A8 from the left lane.)

Detail of the signs outside the Post Office.
Looking up the A900 Leith Street to the East End junction. 

The building on the right is the east facade of Register House, while on the left is the rear of the buildings on Waterloo Place

View from the A900 up to the A1 Regents Bridge.  Underneath is Calton Road, which was the main route from Leith to Edinburgh's Old Town before the North Bridge was opened.
More distant view up the A900, from before the junction with Calton Road.  The tower in the background is the Balmoral Hotel.

Overhead and on the right is the St James Centre (1964-72), a 'megastructural' building comprising shopping centre, hotel, office building, and multi-story car parks.  Although the shopping centre and hotel are successful, the office block was vacated within a few short years, and has remained empty ever since.

Back up at the junction, looking south along North Bridge, with the Post Office on the left and the Balmoral Hotel on the right.  This is the start of the A7.
View east through the junction along Waterloo Place, the start of the A1.  In the background are the monuments on Calton Hill. 

On the top of the Nelson Memorial (the upturned telescope), is a Time Ball which is dropped every day at 1 PM - just as the gun signal is fired at the castle.

Detail of the sign at the start of the A1 and A900.
Looking east along A8 Princes Street to the East End Junction.

The old Post Office is on the right, A1 Waterloo Place straight ahead, and the Wellington statue on the left. 

The road in this direction is only open to buses, bikes, and taxis, so there's no signposting from apart from the small signs at the far side of the junction (pictured above).

Looking west along the A8 Princes Street.

The Balmoral Hotel is far left, with the Scott Monument right of centre.  Between them, alongside the road are the spikes of the Waverley Market, and behind the silhouette of the castle.

Register House.  These photos were taken shortly after the death of Princess Margaret, hence the flag at half mast.
The Balmoral Hotel is the only building above street level on the south side of the A8 along this section of Princes Street. 

The next building, Waverley Market, from where this photo was taken, is a four-level shopping mall entirely below street level.  It's recently been rebranded Princes Mall, but is still widely known as Waverley Market. 

Old and new side by side.  The Balmoral Hotel, with the Tourist Information Centre on the upper level of Waverley Market.
The Balmoral Hotel from the roof garden on  Waverley Market. 

The roof is used as a venue for the Edinburgh Fringe, and the grass barely has time to recover between seasons.

North Bridge, the northernmost bridge on the A7, viewed from the north-west.  Under the bridge is Waverley railway station.

To the left, beyond the bridge, is the Governer's House, the only surviving building from the old Calton Gaol.  It's now the headquarters for the Scottish Executive's Security Service.

Waverley Station occupies the whole width of the valley between the Old and New Towns. 

On the south side, the tall buildings are (on either side of the bridge) the Calton Highland Hotel and the Scotsman newspaper offices (now being redeveloped).  To the right is the old Fruitmarket (now art galleries).  All three buildings had access under Market Street to the railway.

East Princes Street Gardens, alongside the A8.

The gardens were originally private gardens for the houses on the north side of Princes Street, but as the buildings were increasingly used for shops and offices, the gardens were landscaped and opened to the public.

The massive bulk of the Scott Monument dominates this part of the gardens.  In the distance, sheathed in scaffolding, is the Royal Scottish Academy (an art gallery).

(Most similar gardens elsewhere in Edinburgh's New Towns are mainly still private, with access for keyholders only.)

View east along the A8 Princes Street. 

Westbound, Princes Street is open to all traffic, but includes stretches with a double bus lane and one lane for general traffic.  Congestion at the West End junction, in the distance, can tail back right along Princes Street.

Eastbound, Princes Street is only open to buses, bicycles, and (during the night) taxis.  The carriageway has been narrowed down to two lanes to provide additional pavement width.

Photos taken with Olympus OM System cameras and lenses, with Kodak film.  These photos of the East End junction were taken to finish off films after another project, and were scanned in bulk - I've not attempted to straighten them up or correct brightness or contrast.  The streaks on some photos are due to poor calibration on the scanner.