The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument, Edinburgh

The history of The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument stands as a towering tribute to one of Scotland’s literary giants, Sir Walter Scott. Designed by George Meikle Kemp and completed in 1846, this Gothic masterpiece is a fitting tribute to the man who reshaped the landscape of Scottish literature. Its intricate design and soaring spire have made it an iconic landmark in the heart of Edinburgh.

Cultural significance

Following Scott’s death in 1832, money was raised by public donations to build a suitable memorial. The monument is a 5-tiered spire on an arched base, where a statue of Sir Walter Scott sits, wrapped in Border plaid, with his dog Maida.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

Perched prominently in the heart of Edinburgh, the Scott Monument is one of the largest monuments to a writer anywhere in the world. Its proximity to Princes Street and Waverley Station makes it easily accessible, inviting both locals and visitors to explore its ornate design, the story of the monument and Scott himself, and experience 360-degree views of the city.

Key events

In the early 1990s, a proposal was made to clean the stonework. However a scientific/geological investigation, including cleaning trials on samples of stone, it was decided not to clean the stone due to the damage that would result. Instead a restoration programme was undertaken involving replacing old repairs and damaged areas with Binny stone for which purpose the original quarry in West Lothian was re-opened.

Additional information

The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1840 and the monument was completed in 1846.
The Scott Monument’s stained glass windows, and intricate sculptures dedicated to characters from Scott’s novels and Scottish poets, distinguish it as a singular tribute to a literary giant and to the power of storytelling.
The Scott Monument stands proudly in Princes Street Gardens, an iconic green space at the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre. Its commanding presence invites all who pass by to appreciate its architectural grandeur and the literary legacy it represents.

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