Monuments and memorials in Edinburgh

Scott Monument

Irina Nikonova and 41,368 more people have been here
8.8/10

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (not to be confused with the National Monument). It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station.

The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing decks reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. The highest viewing deck is reached by a total of 287 steps (those who climb the steps can obtain a certificate commemorating the event). It is built from Binnie shale quarried in nearby Livingston; the oil which continues to leech from its matrix has helped to glue the notoriously filthy atmosphere of Victorian Edinburgh (then nicknamed "Auld Reekie" — old smokey) to the tower, leaving it an unintended sooty-black colour. Bill Bryson has described it as looking like a "gothic rocket ship".

History

Following Scott's death in 1832, a competition was held to design a monument to him. An unlikely entrant went under the pseudonym "John Morvo", the name of the medieval architect of Melrose Abbey. Morvo was in fact George Meikle Kemp, forty-five year old joiner, draftsman, and self-taught architect. Kemp had feared his lack of architectural qualifications and reputation would disqualify him, but his design (which was similar to an unsuccessful one he had earlier submitted for the design of Glasgow Cathedral) was popular with the competition's judges, and in 1838 Kemp was awarded the contract to construct the monument.

John Steell was commissioned to design a monumental statue of Scott to rest in the space between the tower's four columns. Steell's statue, made from white Carrara marble, shows Scott seated, resting from writing one of his works with a quill pen and his dog Maida by his side.

The foundation stone was laid on the 15th of August 1840. Following an Act of Parliament permitting it (the Monument to Sir Walter Scott Act 1841 (4 & 5 Vict.) C A P. XV.), construction began in 1841 and ran for nearly four years. The tower was completed in the autumn of 1844, with Kemp's son placing the finial in August of the year. The total cost was £16,154/7/11. When the monument was inaugurated on the 15th of August, George Meikle Kemp himself was absent; walking home from the site on the foggy evening of the 6th of March that year, Kemp had fallen into the Union Canal and drowned.

Modern administration

]]

In the 1990s, the monument was closed periodically for restoration work: In the early 1990s it was covered in scaffolding for several years, and it was closed again for additional work in 1998/99. For these purposes, the original quarry was re-opened to get matching sandstone from which craftsmen carved the necessary replacements. The overall cost of the restoration was £2.36 million and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

The monument is now administered by the Culture and Sport division of the City of Edinburgh Council, although the cost of restoration led to discussions in 1996 about selling the landmark to private interests.

References

External links

Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Robin D
21 March 2011
Climb all the way to the very top - the view is well worth the effort!
Heather Tumshi
8 June 2012
If you pay £3 you get a certificate saying you climbed 287 steps to the top. The views are stunning just make sure you go on a clear day and take a camera.
Load more comments
foursquare.com
Location
Map
Address

48 Princes Street, Edinburgh, New Town, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH2 2YJ, UK

Get directions
Open hours
Thu 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Fri 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Sat 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Sun 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Mon 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Tue 11:00 AM–7:00 PM
References

The Scott Monument on Foursquare

Scott Monument on Facebook

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
Edinburgh Castlehill Apartment

starting $0

Castle View Guest House

starting $128

Royal Overseas League Hotel

starting $133

Premier Inn Edinburgh Princes Street

starting $222

Tony Apartment - Heart of Edinburgh

starting $63

Destiny Scotland - Rose Street Flats

starting $135

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
National Gallery of Scotland
United Kingdom

The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is the national art

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Mary King's Close
United Kingdom

Mary King's Close is a network of subterranean tunnels and chambers

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Multrees Walk
United Kingdom

Multrees Walk is an upscale pedestrian shopping area in central

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
United Kingdom

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery on Queen

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Gladstone's Land
United Kingdom

Gladstone's Land is a surviving 17th century high-tenement house

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Heart of Midlothian (Royal Mile)
United Kingdom

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic built into the

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
St. Giles' Cathedral
United Kingdom

A prominent feature of the Edinburgh skyline, St. Giles' Cathedral or

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Trinity College Kirk
United Kingdom

Trinity College Kirk was a royal collegiate church in Edinburgh,

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
USS Constitution
United States

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Provand's Lordship
United Kingdom

The Provand's Lordship located in Glasgow, Scotland, today stands as a

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Dalmeny House
United Kingdom

Dalmeny House is a Gothic revival mansion, designed by William

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Lincoln Memorial
United States

The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Bahá'í House of Worship
United States

A Bahá'í House of Worship, sometimes referred to by its Arabic name o

See all similar places