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Scott Monument, Princes Street, Edinburgh

A Category A Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9524 / 55°57'8"N

Longitude: -3.1933 / 3°11'35"W

OS Eastings: 325585

OS Northings: 673904

OS Grid: NT255739

Mapcode National: GBR 8NF.NQ

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.XNK6

Plus Code: 9C7RXR24+XM

Entry Name: Scott Monument, Princes Street, Edinburgh

Listing Name: East Princes Street Gardens, Scott Monument with Retaining Wall and Steps

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 365167

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB27829

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

George Meikle Kemp, 1840-4. Tall gothic monument (61m), 5-tiered spire on arched base supported by diagonal flying buttresses on terrace (widened to accommodate the Monument). Binny sandstone. Crocketted pinnacles; quatrefoil decoration; gargoyles. Statue, Sir John Steell, 1846: Carrara marble; seated figure of Sir Walter Scott, wrapped in Border plaid, with his deerhound Maida, on low plinth. Smaller statues in gothic canopied niches (characters from Scott's novels and Scottish poets). Polygonal Gothic timber ticket office to SW with slated conical roof, Tudor-arched leaded stained glass windows and crocketted timber parapet.

INTERIOR: spiral staircase in SW pier leading to galleries; carved, timber-panelled, vaulted museum room with stained glass windows (see Notes) at 1st floor.

RETAINING WALL AND STEPS: trefoil-pierced balustrade, moulded hand-rail and corniced piers to 2 pairs of stone steps.

Statement of Interest

Following Scott's death in 1832 money was raised by public subscription to build a suitable memorial. A competition in 1838 to design a memorial (in which the Gothic style was specified) was won by George Meikle Kemp (previously an assistant to William Burn). Kemp had studied Scottish Gothic architecture, making drawings for a book on the subject, and the design for the monument was based on 'the purity of taste and style of Melrose Abbey.' The monument was originally to have been placed in Charlotte Square. The foundation stone was laid on 15th August, 1840. Kemp was drowned in 1844, and the Monument was completed by Thomas Bonnar (Kemp's brother-in-law). Stained glass windows in the museum room were designed by David Roberts and executed by James Ballantine. Edinburgh Town Council became responsible for the site of East Princes Street Gardens in 1776. William Sawrey Gilpin was paid for a model and plan of a design for the area, but nothing came of it until 1829 when, under the supervision of Thomas Brown, some groundworks were done and an ornamental terrace, originally proposed by Playfair, was built along the Princes Street side. Planting of trees and shrubs was laid out for the terrace and slopes by Patrick Neill in 1830. The terrace was widened to accommodate the Scott Monument (1836-46). David Cousin 1849-50 (after construction of railway) terrace with stone balustrade, and further after the extension of Waverley Station W of Waverley Bridge in 1892.

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