Scott Monument

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, United Kingdom, City of Edinburgh

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (not to be confused with the National Monument). It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station. The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing decks reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. The highest viewing deck is reached by a total of 287 steps (those who climb the steps can obtain a certificate commemorating the event). It is built from Binny sandstone quarried in nearby Ecclesmachan. This oily stone was known to attract dirt quickly and was probably a deliberate choice to allow the Gothic form to quickly obtain the patina of age. Arguably the soot of Edinburgh's chimneys, in combination with smoke from the nearby railway line and Waverley Station perhaps over-egged the result, and it is now very hard to make out the numerous carved figures. Bill Bryson has described it as looking like a "gothic rocket ship".