Smith at Panmure House
Adam Smith’s reputation flourished on the back of Wealth of Nations. His next career choice, however, wasn’t an obvious one...
In 1777 he accepted the role of Commissioner of Customs and the Salt Duties in Edinburgh at an annual salary of £600 a year. Two years later, Smith moved into Panmure House, built and later occupied by the 4th Earl of Panmure in 1690. Living here with his mother, a cousin and his nephew, Smith continued to study and write, producing no fewer than four new editions of Wealth of Nations between 1778 and 1789.
During his time here, Smith amassed an extensive library of some 3000 volumes, exploring his interests across a number of languages. In our re-imagining of Panmure House, the rooms in which he studied and revised his key works will be home to the main meeting and event spaces, where echoes of the great ideas housed in those pages may still resonate.
But Panmure House at this time was not simply a place of academic study. It was alive with discourse and entertainment. Key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment were regular visitors; James Hutton, founder of modern geology, Joseph Black, founding father of chemistry, Robert Adam, the neoclassical architect, Edmund Burke, leading English parliamentarian, William Robertson, Edinburgh University principal and historian, Hugh Blair, Professor of Rhetoric, Samual Rogers, English poet and Dugald Stuart, philosopher and mathematician, were just some of the distinguished names to be welcomed here.
Smith died in Panmure House in 1790 leaving instructions for the majority of his manuscripts to be destroyed and for his library to be left to his nephew Lord Reston. It remains Smith’s only surviving residence.