Hidden medieval street buried underneath Stirling shopping centre now open for public tours

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Dirt Raw was buried underneath the Thistle Shopping Centre, and has been inaccessible to the public for 40 years

Today we’re travelling far beyond the realms of Glasgow for a story that’s just too interesting to ignore - a hidden street buried underneath Scotland’s most historic city that has just opened up for guided tours in Stirling

We love a bit of history here at GlasgowWorld - you can read about Glasgow’s oldest streets here - so we just had to share this story with our audience when we heard it was opening for special guided tours in June. Stirling’s only a half an hour train from Queen Street anyway, so if you’re a history buff you’re not going to want to miss this.

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The street was known as Dirt Raw, and ran along Stirling’s city walls - which themselves are some of the best preserved and feature in Scotland’s most historical battles and tales extensively. Stirling’s City Walls were built during the ‘Rough Wooing’ in the 16th century to deter the English from forcing the infant Mary Queen of Scots into marrying Henry VIII's heir.

Dirt Raw was built over in the 1970’s, when the Thistles Shopping Centre was constructed, which closed off Dirt Raw to the public eye. That was until now, as the city is celebrating it’s 900th birthday, tourists and locals alike will have the opportunity to embark on a guided tour of Dirt Raw, led by Stirling Council Archaeologist, Dr Murray Cook.

Guests will also be able to access a hidden 16th century jail on part of the tour, known as the ‘Thieves’ Pot’.

Dr Murray Cook elaborated on the hidden street, he said: “Dirt Raw used to lie outside the Royal Burgh and was sealed in 1970s as the Thistles was built. It’s an incredibly atmospheric disorienting place and I can't wait to explore it and the outside of the Thieves’ Pot.”

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The base of the bastion under the Thistles, a 16th century jail known as The Thieves’ Pot.The base of the bastion under the Thistles, a 16th century jail known as The Thieves’ Pot.
The base of the bastion under the Thistles, a 16th century jail known as The Thieves’ Pot.

Tickets cost £20 per person, with all proceeds going to support Start Up Stirling’s services as the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary. You can buy tickets, and find more information, by clicking here.

It should be noted that the tour is not suitable for folks who are claustrophobic, or who dislike tight, enclosed spaces - appropriate footwear is also required as some areas of the ground are uneven.

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “These guided tours will provide a rare opportunity to see part of Stirling’s remarkable history that’s been hidden away for more than 40 years.

“As we mark Stirling’s 900th anniversary, this is a fitting moment to open up this medieval street to the public whilst supporting a fantastic local charity in Start Up Stirling as it celebrates its special milestone. I’m sure there will be huge demand so please book early.”

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