16/11/2015
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Five Edinburgh monuments you (probably) haven't noticed - things to do in Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is justly world renowned for its architecture and with so many places to explore in the city, it's easy to miss out on some hidden gems. Jack Gillon presents his pick of five monuments you might not have noticed.

Edinburgh has a long tradition of erecting statues, monuments and sculpture to mark important events and special people which has left the city with an outstanding  diversity of artworks in public spaces. All of them tell us something about the history of the city.  

The tallest is the Scott Monument - 200 ft. (60m) high with 287 steps. The oldest is the statue of King Charles II in Parliament Square, which dates from 1685. The most famous is probably Greyfriars Bobby. The most ambitious could be the National Monument on Calton Hill - it was never finished.
 
Here are five of the lesser known, but no less interesting monuments in the city:

1. The Genius of Architecture
 
The sandstone statue (pictured above) of a standing female and two kilted male children in West Princes Street Gardens symbolises the Genius of Architecture Crowning the Theory and Practice of Art. The woman, representing Architecture, is depicted placing a garland of laurels on the head of a boy working on a column with a trowel (the practice) and the girl is holding an architectural drawing (the theory).
 
The statue was made for an International Exhibition in London in 1862. It was sculpted by John Rhind and the female figure is modelled on Lady Gowans, wife of Sir James Gowans, Edinburgh’s Lord Dean of Guild, 1884-85. The statue was later sited in the garden of Gowans' house, Rockville in Napier Road, Merchiston, and was gifted to the city in 1870.

2. A Canine Connection, Bum The Dog
 
The bronze statue of a dog named Bum is located at the King's Stables Road entrance to Princes Street Gardens. The statue was presented to Edinburgh by the city of San Diego, California. Bum has a similar story to Greyfriars Bobby and the same iconic status in San Diego; and an exchange of statues of the two dogs was seen as a way of marking the link between Edinburgh and San Diego, which were twinned in 1978. The unveiling ceremony on 19 July 2008 was preceded by a parade of dogs through Princes Street Gardens.
 
Bum was a well known character in San Diego and his life was documented in a blend of fact and fantasy by a local newspaper. Bum developed a taste for alcohol after hanging around bars and during a fight with a bulldog on a rail track, the two dogs were hit by a train, severing part of Bum's front right foot and killing the other dog. In the years that followed, Bum became the unofficial mascot of San Diego. After San Diego passed a byelaw in 1891 requiring all dogs to be registered, the city council granted Bum a tag for life ‘on the grounds that he did more to advertise the city and county than most of the newspapers.’ His image was stamped on all dog licenses issued in the city.
 
In 1894, Bum was injured again when his rear leg was fractured from a kick by a horse. By 1898, the free-roving town dog was having difficulty getting around because of arthritis. Bum was retired to the County Hospital, where he died on November 19, 1898 and was buried in the grounds.
 
3. The American Civil War Memorial

The American Civil War Memorial in Calton Burial Ground depicts a bronze life-sized standing figure of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), holding the proclamation of emancipation in his right hand, with an unshackled slave at his feet. The free slave holds a book, indicating that he is not only free but also educated, and has an arm extended toward Lincoln in gratitude.

The statue was designed by George Edwin Bissell (1839-1920) an American sculptor, who was responsible for a number of Civil War memorials in the States. It was made in Edinburgh by Stewart McGlashen and Sons. The statue was a gift from America to Scotland and all the money was raised in the States. It was dedicated on 21 August, 1893.
 
The memorial also incorporates furled regimental battle flags, indicating that the battle is over, and bronze shields with US flags, one wreathed in thistles and the other in cotton. It is the only monument commemorating the American Civil War outside of the United States. The memorial is inscribed: Emancipation Education Union Suffrage. To Preserve the Jewel of Liberty in the Framework of Freedom. Abraham Lincoln. In Memory of Scottish-American Soldiers. Unveiled 21st October 1893.

The monument commemorates six Scottish men who fought and died on the Union side in the American Civil War - the names of Sergeant Major John McEwan, Lt Col William Duff, Robert Steedman, James Wilkie, Robert Ferguson and Alexander Smith are inscribed on the granite plinth of the statue.
 
4. Catherine Sinclair Monument
 
This monument to Catherine Sinclair is tucked away at the corner of Charlotte Street North/St Colme Street. It was designed by David Bryce, carved by John Rhind and erected shortly after Catherine Sinclair’s death in 1864.
 
Catherine Sinclair was born in Edinburgh on 17 April 1800. She was one of thirteen children of Sir John Sinclair, a prominent and prosperous politician, and Lady Diana Macdonald. Catherine wrote many bestselling books in a variety of genres - novels, children's literature and travelogues. Her most popular book was 'Holiday House', which was written for children and published in 1839. It was considered a milestone in children's literature for its portrayal of two realistic rebellious children and was a nursery favourite for decades. She is also noted as the person who discovered that Sir Walter Scott was the author of "The Waverley Novels", which were originally published anonymously.

Catherine was most celebrated for her wide-ranging charitable work and as one of the most prominent philanthropists of 19th century Edinburgh. She introduced public bench seats to the city, a feature which remains popular to this day. She founded and financed the Volunteer Brigade for the boys of Leith, opened a school where girls from working class homes were taught domestic work,  provided shelters where cabmen could relax while waiting for 'fares', and opened special cooking centres which provided low cost meals for the poor.
 
She is perhaps best remembered for the Catherine Sinclair Drinking Fountain which was erected at the west end of Princes Street in 1859 and was the first drinking fountain in Edinburgh. It was a popular amenity and the inscription on the fountain read ‘Water is not for man alone’, as it  provided facilities for both people, dogs and the horses that pulled the Edinburgh cabs to quench their thirst. Due to the increase in traffic, the fountain was dismantled in 1932. The fountain lay in storage until 1983, when parts of it were re-erected on the Water of Leith Walkway at Gosford Place.
 
5. The Memorial Masons' Pillars, Melville Drive
 
The two Memorial Masons' Pillars which flank each side of the west end of Melville Drive were erected to serve as an example of stone craftsmanship for the International Exhibition in 1886. They were designed by Sir James Gowans, who was also a quarry owner with a great interest in stone, and constructed by the Master Builders and Operative Masons of Edinburgh and Leith as a gift to the City of Edinburgh.
 
The 26 ft (8m) high pillars are octagonal in plan and surmounted by 7ft (2m) high unicorns. They are decorated with shields displaying the Imperial, Scottish, English and Irish Arms; the coats of arms of nineteen Scottish Burghs; and the crest of The Edinburgh Masons.
 
The stones in the pillars consist of eighteen courses of specimen stone from seventeen different quarries - the name of the source of the quarry is inscribed on each course. The pillars also show examples of different types of stone finishes and masons' marks. Gowans intended the pillars to act as a durability test of the different stones.

   MORE: Scotland's strangest eccentrics

MONUMENTAL EDINBURGH

Jack Gillon is co-author of Monumental Edinburgh, published by Amberley Publishing, which illustrates the history of the capital city of Scotland through its statues and monuments – a permanent display in a city-wide museum. The book lists them by area for easy reference while out and about and explains the stories behind the lesser-known figures and events commemorated around the city.

These monuments record the contribution that Scottish personalities have made to architecture, town planning, philosophy, politics, medicine, science, poetry and literature. The characters and events immortalised by architects, sculptors and artisans in stone and bronze, played significant parts in the Scottish Enlightenment, the British Empire and global culture. They are now an intrinsic part of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site

Monumental Edinburgh illustrates the history of the capital city of Scotland through its statues and monuments – a permanent display in a city-wide museum. The book lists them by area for easy reference while out and about and explains the stories behind the lesser-known figures and events commemorated around the city.

These monuments record the contribution that Scottish personalities have made to architecture, town planning, philosophy, politics, medicine, science, poetry and literature. The characters and events immortalised by architects, sculptors and artisans in stone and bronze, played significant parts in the Scottish Enlightenment, the British Empire and global culture. They are now an intrinsic part of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site - See more at: https://www.amberley-books.com/monumental-edinburgh.html#sthash.LMeLKyOY.dpuf
Monumental Edinburgh illustrates the history of the capital city of Scotland through its statues and monuments – a permanent display in a city-wide museum. The book lists them by area for easy reference while out and about and explains the stories behind the lesser-known figures and events commemorated around the city.

These monuments record the contribution that Scottish personalities have made to architecture, town planning, philosophy, politics, medicine, science, poetry and literature. The characters and events immortalised by architects, sculptors and artisans in stone and bronze, played significant parts in the Scottish Enlightenment, the British Empire and global culture. They are now an intrinsic part of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site - See more at: https://www.amberley-books.com/monumental-edinburgh.html#sthash.LMeLKyOY.dpuf
Monumental Edinburgh illustrates the history of the capital city of Scotland through its statues and monuments – a permanent display in a city-wide museum. The book lists them by area for easy reference while out and about and explains the stories behind the lesser-known figures and events commemorated around the city.

These monuments record the contribution that Scottish personalities have made to architecture, town planning, philosophy, politics, medicine, science, poetry and literature. The characters and events immortalised by architects, sculptors and artisans in stone and bronze, played significant parts in the Scottish Enlightenment, the British Empire and global culture. They are now an intrinsic part of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site - See more at: https://www.amberley-books.com/monumental-edinburgh.html#sthash.LMeLKyOY.dpuf

To find out more or to order a copy, visit Amberley Publishing's website.
 

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