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Shortlist revealed for public choice of 101st object in Edinburgh visitor project


The Greyfriars Bobby statue, a fanlight from the New Town and a tray of 'chippy sauce' are among the objects to have made the shortlist on the Edinburgh 101 project. Explore each of the 101 objects with the Edinburgh 101 map.

Locals and visitors alike have been voting for what item should be the 101st object on the Edinburgh 101 walking trail, and voting from the shortlist will now remain open until 29 September 2017. 

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The winning object will sit alongside 100 other city objects that have previously been selected by a panel of experts and which includes a signed Trainspotting script, a collection of miniature coffins and the Scottish crown jewels. 

The Edinburgh in 101 objects shortlist

1. Chippy sauce

Visiting Edinburgh for the first time, you’re bound to stumble across chippy sauce. Unique to Edinburgh with each shop creating their own secret recipe, it’s become something the city’s known for and is held by fans to be a defining cultural mark of the city’s gastronomy.

2. The Freed Slave, part of the Abraham Lincoln memorial

Built in 1893, this commemorates the Scots who fought on behalf of the Union during the American Civil War. Six sons of Edinburgh signed up to fight on Lincoln’s behalf for the abolition of slavery; their names are inscribed on the memorial, which depicts a black slave being released from shackles, giving thanks to Lincoln.

The memorial also reminds us of a darker side of Edinburgh history. Many of the wealthy merchants and bankers who lived and worked in the city in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were slave owners who used the profits from their plantations to fund their elegant New Town houses, now an integral part of World Heritage Site.

3. Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for (supposedly) spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872.  The affectionate tradition of touching the statue's nose for good luck has left the pooch sporting a shiny bronze snout which is expensive to restore – so no touching please!

4. A New Town fanlight 

Before electric, or gas lighting, fanlights enabled more natural light to enter the previously dark hallways of houses and tenements.  Their shape creates an elegant arched doorway with a semi-circular form, just like an open fan.   The fanlight became so successful during the Georgian period that it grew into an established element of the architectural style of the city, forming the focal point and showpiece of the house front.

5. The Elephant House’s Harry Potter graffiti Loo  

The Elephant House announces it was the “birthplace” of Harry Potter but JK Rowling wrote in a variety of locations, the Elephant House being one of them. Inside, the drawers in the tables are filled with fan letters to the author and notes are scrawled all over the lavatory walls.  

Take a seat in the back of the cafe where the tall windows provide a magical view over the atmospheric Greyfriars Kirkyard and George Heriot’s school to get a sense of the inspiration that Edinburgh provided to Rowling and countless other writers.

6. 1906 Younger’s Beer Bottle

An unopened beer bottle dating from 1906, produced by the brewery in Sugarhouse Close – evidence of the once-powerful beer making heritage of Edinburgh’s Old Town.  It is a tradition that dates back to the 12th century when monks started to brew at Holyrood Abbey, but the ancient buildings have a new lease of life as student accommodation where the beer bottle is on view with other items describing the beer-making history of the Canongate.

Nicholas Hotham, Head of External Relations at Edinburgh World Heritage said: “It’s been fascinating to see what objects the people and visitors of Edinburgh are passionate about. Edinburgh’s captivating history is not confined to the traditional understandings of the subject but spans a huge selection of topics, represented in the objects that have made the shortlist. It’s not often you see chippy sauce and slavery memorials placed in the same list!

“Now our final six objects have been announced we’re eager to see what steals the 101st spot and becomes the final object to make up Edinburgh’s 101 Objects. We’re confident it will be a fantastic addition to this historical city trail.”

How to vote

Voting is now open and you can choose your favourite item at the project website, or follow and join in on Facebook and Twitter.


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