Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Adam Smith’s House is For Sale!

Adam Smith's House is For sale. Panmure House, in which Adam Smith lived from 1788 until his death in 1790 in Edinburgh, is on the market for £700,000.

It is owned by Edinburgh City Council and has been used by its welfare department for many year. The external appearance building is as it was when Adam Smith lived there, but the inside has been heavily changed over the year.

Adam Smith took up residence at Panmure House in 1788 after his appointment as a Scottish Commissioner of Customs where he worked diligently four days a week until a few weeks before he died. It is just off a close in the Royal Mile and about 200 yards from Canongate Church Yard where he is buried.

Further up the Royal Mile High Street between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace at the bottom, the Customs House where he worked is still standing as a splendid Georgian Building, which since early 19th century, is owned by the City Council and is its political and administrative headquarters. Later this year, the 20-foot statue of Adam Smith is to be erected opposite the old Custom’s House where he worked. This statue has been funded entirely from private subscription under the initiative of the Adam Smith Institute.

Details about the statue are available from or

It was from Panmure House that Adam Smith walked up to the Custom’s House, passing his future grave site, and the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s Old Town, not all that much different, except for the obvious fittings of modern life, from when he took his daily walk to work.

I take the same walk when taking visitors, who want to see where Adam Smith lived and worked, as I did recently, as reported on Lost Legacy, with a German journalist who was writing an article on the Scottish moral philosopher and political economist for a German news magazine.

If the money could be raised, Adam Smith’s house could be restored as an educational centre to promote knowledge about Adam Smith’s views (his true legacy) and with his links to the street he lived in, it could attract many visitors. However, there is a requirement, of course, that the restoration could be self-financing.

Here is the announcement in this morning’s Scotsman.
“Adam Smith home left to market forces” By Brian Ferguson

"IT IS the historic building where one of Scotland's greatest thinkers spent his last years.

Adam Smith, the celebrated philosopher and economist, lived with his mother in the house in a close off Edinburgh's Royal Mile for 12 years before his death in 1790.

But it is largely unknown that the Canongate building is where the "father of capitalism" held court in later life – as it is hidden away off the tourist trail and in recent years has been used as a centre for troubled youngsters.

However, campaigners, who have fought for greater recognition of Kirkcaldy-born Smith, have been left dismayed after discovering that the city council has put the building on to the open market.

The council has been repeatedly urged to instigate plans to convert the property, built for the Earl of Panmure in 1691, into an "Adam Smith Museum" or study centre in his honour.

But the council has instead put the building, previously converted into a home for Canongate Boys' Club, up for sale with a £700,000 price-tag and will plough the proceeds into refurbishing a community centre.

Agents handling the sale say they are expecting significant demand for the building, which they believe could be converted to become offices or flats . But the prospect has horrified experts months before Smith's long-awaited statue is due to be unveiled on the Royal Mile.

The veteran campaigner Professor Sir Alan Peacock said: "It's a disgrace that the council has agreed to dispose of a building as significant as this. It should be saved for the nation."

Dr Eamonn Butler, the director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: "We've thought about approaching the council about Panmure House in the past to see what we could do. I doubt we'd be able to bid for it."

Fact: Adam Smith’s mother, nee Margaret Douglas, lived at Panmure house for 6 years (1778-1784) until she died. His cousin, Janet Douglas, his cousin lived with him too until she died in 1788, as the ‘housekeeper’.


Blogger Unknown said...

It's quite a large building, and well situated from a property value point of view close to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

Some views of it can be seen here.

3:52 pm  

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