Demolition may reveal hidden cellar

18th June, 2014 by Richard Ross

The demolition of an Edinburgh office block may uncover remnants of a 200 year old cellar that held the wines of Scottish philosopher David Hume.

humePortraitHume, a leading player in the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, was a keen entertainer as well as a world-renowned philosopher.

Work began yesterday on demolishing the office block that was built on the site of Hume’s original town house, built on Edinburgh’s St. Andrews Square in the 1770s and demolished in the 1950s.

Speaking to The Scotsman, historian Mike Turnbull says there is a chance that an original cellar could survive, as the cellars of the time used to stick out under the street and pavement beyond the footprint of the house itself.

Billy Kay, author of ‘Knee Deep in Claret’, a history of wine and Scotland, told The Drinks Business: “Because Claret was very much the drink of the Scottish enlightenment, it would be amazing to find a pre-phylloxera bottle or two in the cellar, and a very valuable piece of history”.

Kay says that Hume was well known for his love of the drink. The philosopher began drinking Bordeaux in his teenage years, when as a youth of 17 he was prescribed “a pint of claret per day” to combat a bout of depression.

His wine drinking continued through his adult life, with his Edinburgh house becoming a well-known location for dinner parties with other major Enlightenment luminaries. Scotland’s strong historic links with France meant that the wines of Bordeaux were the mainstay of the cellars of the time.

In Hume’s will, he left his friend John Home “ten dozen of my old claret at his choice; and one bottle of that other liquor called port.”

The site is being developed into a £75 million office and residential complex, due for completion in 2016. It’s hoped that any cellar discovery can be incorporated into the new structure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more