Nov 252020
 

Mound Place, EH1 2LX

Mound Place looking over the North Loch
Mound

The Nor’ Loch was drained between 1813 and 1820 to become Princes Street gardens. Draining of the Loch was the result of pressures from Edinburgh’s growing upper class to rid the City of the stench emanating from it. The Loch had become a dumping ground for the population of Edinburgh, including waste from the city’s slaughterhouses. As such, it had become a serious public health issue, even though there was no evidence to suggest that the Loch ever supplied the people of Edinburgh with drinking water. The Mound – the hill you are currently standing on – is manmade, formed between 1781 and 1880 from material collected while digging the foundations for the buildings in New Town. It provides extensive views of Princes Street and the city of Edinburgh, including a view of the famous Scott Monument. Construction of the Scott Monument began in 1840 in honour of the Scottish Poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). It was designed by carpenter and self-taught architect George Meikle Kemp (1795-1844). Beautiful and impressive as it is, the story of how it was built is a dark one. There is anecdotal evidence to show that many of the stonemasons who worked to create it contracted silicosis/tuberculosis from a combination of the intensive stone work required and the dusty properties of the sandstone used to construct it.

Historical reconstruction of Edinburgh Castle and the Nor` Loch by Alexander Nasmyth, 1824.
(National Galleries Scotland).
Edinburgh Castle and the Nor’ Loch by Alexander Nasmyth, 1824. The picture was painted after the loch had been drained and is a reconstruction of the historic landscape (National Galleries Scotland).
Building the Scott Monument. Artist: unknown. Date: about 1841-44. (Scottish National Portrait Gallery).
Building the Scott Monument.
Artist: unknown. Date: about 1841-44.
(Scottish National Portrait Gallery)
The Sir Walter Scott Monument being built, view of the Castle. Artist: unknown. Date: about 1841. (Scottish National Portrait Gallery).
Building the Scott Monument.
Artist: unknown. Date: about 1841.
(Scottish National Portrait Gallery).
Sir Walter Scott Monument under construction. Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot. Date: about 1841-44. Source: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Sir Walter Scott Monument under construction. Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot. Date: about 1841-44. (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).

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Jan 152019
 
The nearby location of Granton House (now demolished)
The nearby location of Granton House (now demolished)

Forth Quarter, Edinburgh EH5 1FH

Near this site once stood Granton House, a 24-room three-storey mansion with a balustraded roof, built by the Earl of Hopetoun in 1807 on the Duke of Buccleuch’s land as part of a 99-year lease. In 1883, the house became the property of Lord Gifford (1820 – 1887) the Scottish advocate and judge. Visitors to the house included Sir Walter Scott and Florence Nightingale who, following her visit, wrote to the family and said “I think Granton House the most poetic place I ever saw.” The house was purchased by the Edinburgh and Leith Corporations Gas Commissioners around the time that Granton Gas Works was built (opened in 1902), for use as the official residence of the Chief Engineer and Manager. The first Chief Engineer and Manager to occupy the house was Mr W. R. Herring. When Edinburgh and Leith amalgamated in 1920, the house passed to Edinburgh Corporation. From 1946 Edinburgh Corporation used the property to house homeless families following World War II. On 1 January 1954 it was destroyed in a disastrous fire and what was left demolished.

Lord Gifford
Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford (1820-1887)
Across Forthquarter Park
Walk along the foot path to get to your next destination
Turning point by Stuart Ogilvie
Turning point by Stuart Ogilvie
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Apr 242018
 

Scott MonumentScott Monument, E. Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ

In 1821, Scott wrote: India is ‘the corn chest for Scotland, where we poor gentry must send our youngest sons as we send our black cattle to the South’. Scott’s novella, A Surgeon’s Daughter, is partly set in India and friends serving there helped with details. Family, like brother Robert and cousin James Russell, were in the East India Company; his wife Charlotte received about £40,000 annually (today’s value) from her brother in India. Walter helped his nephew to an Indian position – but discouraged his sons: Walter went to Madras only after his father’s death, and died en route home.

Statue of Sir Walter Scott.

Statue of Sir Walter Scott.

 

Watercolour portrait of Sir Walter Scott's son Walter in Hussars' uniform.

Watercolour portrait of Sir Walter Scott’s son Walter in Hussars’ uniform.

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Apr 172016
 

22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh was set up in imitation of the Royal Society of London in 1783. It has been at its present location since 1909, having originally met in the college library of the University of Edinburgh. Its fellows have included such illustrious names as John Clerk Maxwell, Roderick Murchison, James Watt and Sir Walter Scott, who was its third president. Although originally scientific in orientation, it now accepts many famous names from the arts and humanities. The Society still continues its work of promoting original research in Scotland today.

Free public access to the foyer. Tours of the rest of the building may sometimes be available on request at the reception, depending on the availability of staff.

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