Broughton Street and Picardy Place, Edinburgh.
The Empire, Restaurant. 1891.
An old quaint interesting tavern once occupied the site of the Empire Restaurant from as early as the 1840s. In 1891 an elegant restaurant was opened by landlord Magnus Taylor. The new establishment with its imposing frontage, the main doorway was surmounted by an elegant lamp and the entrance to the bar and family department capitally arranged to suit the convenience of customers. The interior was consisted of the main bar counter sitting rooms and a restaurant.
A fountain in the bar area was used for the cooling of mineral waters, a patent check till, complete system of electric bells. The dinning rooms were sufficiently isolated from the front bar aa was the lavatory accommodation. Mr Taylor had a telephone installed in his private office. All telegrams published by the Central News Agency was received at the Empire.
The frontage of the establishment which had a separate entrance from Broughton Street, faced the curious antiquated Chapel Lane, the Catholic Cathedral and the Theatre Royal. Contemporaneous or almost so, with the former Theatre Royal at Shakespeare Square, the early tavern, under the title of Ambrose’s Hotel, was frequented by the grand old dramatic worthies.
Mr Magnus Taylor. 1891.
Mr Taylor possessed a number of old playbills, nearly a century old, intimating in bold and antiquated type the production of the different standard plays at the old “Adelphi” the “Royal” and the “Queen’s Theatre” and “Opera House,” under which one or other of the above titles the early forms of the present theatre were known. To Ambrose’s Hotel came that grand old professor Wilson to drink inspiration at the fons et origo of the romantic “dew,” which he, under the felicitous cognomen of “Christopher North,” has so loudly extolled in his delightful book “Noctes Ambrosianae.”