Scott Monument

How the Scott Monument in Edinburgh came to be

Brief history of the Scott Monument

The City of Edinburgh launched a competition in order to find the perfect design for a monument honouring Sir Walter Scott. A total of 54 entries were submitted and nearly half of them were for building a gothic structure. An obelisk, a fountain and a total of 14 Grecian temples were also proposed.

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The initial design of the Scott Monument by George Meikle Kemp was not as complex and intricate nor as tall as it is today. The design was not accepted due to prejudice against Kemp's non-architectural background. The revised design of the Scott Monument, however, won the day.

Because the competition rules stated that 'no architectural monument should be adopted of which a statue did not form a part', a large, double life-size statue of Sir Walter Scott was to be sculpted in white, Italian Cararra marble and placed in the centre of the monument.

Donations from banks, King William IV and even from bankers in St Petersburg in Russia jump-started the fundraising efforts. In the end, house-to-house visits were arranged to collect more money when funds ran out.

Large crowds gathered when the foundation stone for the Scott Monument was laid but many more came to the opening by steamer, train and ferries four years later at the grand opening. Magistrates, commoners, a military band and a Dragoons detachment formed the procession.

The Scott Monument changed in appearance over time. At the time, Edinburgh was known as Auld Reekie because of the thick chimney smoke coming from people's homes. In time, the smoke coloured the sand stone the monument is made of and that is why it is so dark-coloured today.

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All Princes Street articles:

  • Edinburgh New Town introduction Overview of the New Town including best places to visit plus tips and advice.
  • Princes Street highlights Visitor information about the shops and attractions on Princes Street.
  • Princes Street Gardens Overview of the most popular green space in Edinburgh.
  • Scott Monument Information about the unmistakable neogothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott.
  • National Gallery of Scotland Information about the top free attraction in Edinburgh and one of the finest art galleries in Britain.
  • Calton Hill While not at the end of Princes Street itself, Calton Hill plays a very big part in the distinctive Edinburgh panorama but also as an excellent viewpoint.
  • Ramsay Gardens Although at the top of the Royal Mile, Ramsay Garden is a distinctive part of Edinburgh's skyline that can be seen from Princes Street.
  • Photos of Edinburgh City Centre Picture gallery of Princes Street, the gardens, Scott Monument, the Balmoral Hotel, Calton Hill and the New Town.
  • Attraction Details - Princes Street Princes Street tourist information including opening times and contact details of the Tourist Centre and attractions on Princes Street and Edinburgh City Centre.
  • Princes Street on the web Links to other web pages related to Princes Street, the Gardens and the heart of Edinburgh.

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