Found: A 19th-Century Slaughterhouse Beneath a Former Nightclub - Atlas Obscura
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Found: A 19th-Century Slaughterhouse Beneath a Former Nightclub

An abattoir was lurking under a popular student haunt in Edinburgh.

The slaughterhouse dates back to the 1800s.
The slaughterhouse dates back to the 1800s. Courtesy of Bowmer and Kirkland

The underground scene found below the permanently closed Silk Nightclub in Edinburgh was not one CFA Archaeologists were expecting.

BBC Scotland News reports that Bruce Glendinning and his team from CFA, a cultural heritage company, unearthed a well-preserved 19th-century slaughterhouse and well during the club’s demolition. The site is located just outside the city’s walls, which makes sense given the Edinburgh Slaughterhouse Act of 1850 prohibited private slaughterhouses for three miles outside the city limits.

The layout and materials of the foundations “tells us how it looked inside with cobbled floors and the different floors and how the drains worked so they could sluice the blood away,” Glendinning told BBC Scotland News.

Construction contractor Bowmer and Kirkland and CFA excavated and took “detailed photographic, survey, and written records” of the slaughterhouse, says Glendinning. The well, however, will remain preserved, backfilled with clean gravel, and “then a concrete cap will be cast over it” before construction starts on a hotel, student housing, and homes.