In May 1682, James VII and his family left Edinburgh and six years later he was overthrown by his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange.

Anne became queen in 1702 but her death in 1714 left the country in turmoil.

Following the failed Jacobite Uprising in 1715, John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, an Alloa-born Stuart supporter, went into exile.

His thoughts, however, were very much at home. To pass the time in France he drew up sketches and plans for not only Scotland but her capital.

One idea he had for Edinburgh was for the town to have a "large bridge of three arches over the ground betwixt the North Loch and Physic gardens, from the High Street at Liberton’s Wynd to the Multersey Hill where many fine streets might be built".

He believed that "all ways on Edinburgh should be improved upon", as following the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, he felt the city had made little or no progress.

As the population grew, he felt this new bridge would give them easier access to other parts of the town, and from the bridge they would have a fine view towards the River Forth.

He went on to suggest what was to become Princes Street. He alluded to "a long street in a straight line" where on ‘one side of it would be a fine opportunity for gardens down to the North Loch." This later became Princes Street Gardens.

Erskine suggested another bridge be built at the other side of the town at St Mary’s Wynd and The Pleasance.

Between The Pleasance and Potterrow and "from thence to Bristo Street, and by the back of the wall at Heriot’s hospital, are fine situations for houses and gardens". He went on "there would be fine avenues to the town for airing and walking by these bridges".

Another suggestion from Erskine was a canal between the Forth and Clyde. As it transpired, his ideas were not ignored.

The contract initially was given to mason and architect David Henderson of Sauchie, but his design was not adopted, the contract eventually going to William Mylne.

The first stone of the North Bridge was laid on October 1, 1763. Nothing happened for almost two years, and after numerous setbacks including some of it collapsing in August 1769, it was finally passable in 1772.

This bridge lasted until 1896 when it was replaced by the North Bridge of today.

Erskine wrote his paper in 1728, four years before he died so he never saw his plans executed.