Despite its grand appearance and distinguished past residents, Heriot Row has seen its share of crime and disgrace.

Rioting mobs who attacked houses in Heriot Row are described by Elizabeth Grant and Jemima Wedderburn in their memoirs. The houses had wooden shutters to protect against cold - and intruders. But when the Grants had a party in 1815, they left their shutters open because of the heat. A mob who objected to Elizabeth's MP father's protectionist views on the Corn Law Bill threw 'a volley of stones' through the windows. Soldiers arrived quickly to defend the house. Along at Number 31, the Wedderburns' house was targeted because as Tories they refused to illuminate the property to show their support for the passing of the Reform Bill in 1830. Jemima recalls how the mob broke the front windows and banged on the door.

Theft was also a fact of Victorian life. Janet Mackenzie of No 41 was mugged and her purse stolen. In 1845 Mrs Grant of No 18 had the contents of her meat larder, all ready to feed a household at Christmas, lifted. In both cases the efforts of the authorities to recover the stolen goods were considered quite inadequate.

Out in New South Wales, Campbell Riddell of No 15 was accused, then cleared, of irregularities, after misguidedly lodging public revenues in his own private account. Fraud reared its head in earnest in 1902 with the trial of a 'society' couple - Lieutenant and Mrs Cameron - living at No 2. They had tried to claim for valuable 'stolen' jewellery. Later in the century, developer John Poulson had an office at 4 Heriot Row, before evidence of corruption caught up with him and he was sent to jail.

Debt could affect all classes. While the Grants of Rothiemurcus were living in their rented New Town property, their debts mounted to the point where bailiffs arrived to remove their belongings. Only the fact that the furnishings belonged to their landlord allowed them to live out the season there in comfort.

Worse disgrace came to young musician Joey Mackenzie of No 41, exiled to Canada following his almost certainly accidental involvement in a scandal involving a violent assault in a club of doubtful repute.

At least two street residents received compensation when slave ownership was abolished.

Heriot Row even nurtured its own crime writer. Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was one of the most influential crime novels ever written. Though set in London it drew heavily on Edinburgh crime legends, notably the double life of Edinburgh cabinet maker Deacon Brodie. In turn, Heriot Row has featured several times in the books of contemporary crime writer Ian Rankin.

Today Heriot Row is seldom mentioned in criminal proceedings, but concern about crime can persist. Some years ago the site editor did a household collection for a well known charity. She ended up at the far western end of Heriot Row, clutching a full tin. The last house belonged to the then Lord President, who took time out from studying his law cases to offer a generous donation. His wife insisted that he accompany the tin and its owner back to her house at the other end of the street, lest she be mugged.

Rioting mobs who attacked houses in Heriot Row are described by Elizabeth Grant and Jemima Wedderburn in their memoirs