When Sir Walter Scott passed away in 1832 a competition was started with the lucky winner being able to see their submitted design for a Scott monument brought to life. The winner of said competition was George Meikle Kemp, a self taught architect who entered the competition under a pseudonym. A contract was awarded 6 years later in 1838 and the construction of the monument was finally able to begin.
Scott Monument stands more than 60 meters (200 feet) high and is a well known feature in Edinburgh. Narrow staircases spiral upwards towards a number of viewing platforms. From here you can witness panoramic views across the skyline of central Edinburgh and each of the viewing platforms has something different to offer. The views are breathtaking and you can often see far beyond central Edinburgh, dependant on the weather.
The highest platform can be reached by climbing a vast amount of steps, 287 in total, and those fortunate enough to be fit enough to reach the top can even obtain a certificate to mark this achievement.
Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument and it is made from Binny sandstone originally located in West Lothian. Within Scott Monument there are 64 figures which are based on characters from Sir Walter Scott’s novels and these have been designed by a number of famous Scottish sculptors. In addition to these 64 figures there are a further 4 figures which are placed above the highest viewing gallery and are notoriously difficult to view without the use of a telephoto lens. A statue of Sir Walter Scott, designed by Sir John Steell, is also located within the Scott Monument and this is made from white Carrara marble. This statue shows Sir Walter Scott sitting with his dog by his side taking a rest from creating one of his famous works.
This monument can be seen from multiple focal points throughout the Princes Street Gardens, with views from the Eastern part of the grounds being largely dominated by it. As the gardens around the monument are sunken this only serves to give this tower an even more impressive stature. The Scott Monument is large enough in size that it can entirely dwarf the old town that is located behind it and even obscure it from view at particular angles.
Scott Monument has been kept in fantastic condition, partly thanks to restoration work which took place in the 1990s. Initially the stonework was to be washed but this was deemed to be unsuitable. The original quarry where the Binny stone was obtained from was reopened for the purpose of replacing damaged stonework on the Monument and helping to restore it back to its original condition. You can see the contrast between the original stonework and the fresh stonework but this only serves to further enhance the beauty of this Monument.
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