Did You Know?
- Scotland's Disgrace

National Monument, Calton Hill

Variously called "Scotland's Disgrace" or "Scotland's Pride and Poverty" or "Edinburgh's Shame" the National Monument on Calton Hill in Edinburgh was supposed to have been a memorial to the Scots who died in the Napoleonic Wars.

The idea was to create a copy of the Parthenon in Athens (Edinburgh is sometimes called the "Athens of the North").

Sir Walter Scott, Sir Henry Cockburn and others launched a subscription to pay the estimated cost of 42,000 pounds.

The foundation stone was laid on 27 October 1822 but three years later work stopped as less than half the cost had been subscribed.

The twelve Doric columns on their base still remain.

Somewhat more successful was the Nelson Monument which was dedicated in 1807, two years after the Battle of Trafalgar. The 108 foot tower was designed by Robert Burn to resemble an inverted telescope and houses a museum to Nelson.

A large, zinc-plated wooden ball is suspended from cross-trees on the Nelson Monument. It was raised each day to the top of the monument and released at exactly 1.0pm so that the ships in Leith harbour could reset their chronometers. There was an electrical cable connection with the "One O'clock Gun" fired on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, 4,000 feet away.

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