Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 40 - Spankings, Football, Calton Hill and a Marks & Spencer Dinner

Today I spent most of the morning and afternoon going through all the Spank or Treat and Saturday Spankings entries and leaving a comment.  So, no touristy stuff to report from me.  Hubby went looking for a model store that has closed and a search for the third BBC Dr. Who magazine, so not much to report from him either.

NFL in London
This afternoon marked the second NFL game being played in London this year.  During it, the San Francisco 49ers won their fifth straight game, crushing the winless Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 at Wembley Stadium.

Christmas Decorations are beginning to be put up with various lighting cermonies around the city reportedly happening next week.  There's a tree up in Covent Garden, but it's not decorated, yet, and though the decorations on our street are all up, they still aren't lit either.  We spoke briefly with the gents last week who were working to install them, and they said their company was responsible for the decorations on both Oxford and Regent Street as well as Covent Garden.

Next week, I hope to be able to share pictures of decorated streets, but in the meantime I'll share a few more photos from Edinburgh that I wasn't able to share earlier.

Calton Hill in Edinburgh
Calton Hill is the headquarters of the Scottish Government, which is based at St Andrew's House, on the steep southern slope of the hill; with the Scottish Parliament Building, and other notable buildings, for example Holyrood Palace, lying near the foot of the hill.includes several iconic monuments and buildings: the National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, the old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, the Political Martyrs' Monument and the City Observatory.

Martyrs Monument on Calton Hill
The Old Calton Burial Ground was the first substantial development on Calton Hill and lies on the south-western side of the hill. The philosopher David Hume is buried there. His tomb is engraved only with the year of his birth (1711) and death (1776), on the "simple Roman tomb" (a relatively large monument) which he prescribed. The Political Martyrs' Monument is also in the burial ground. This is in memory of five campaigners for political reform and universal suffrage who were convicted of sedition and sent in 1793 to Botany Bay, Australia.

Edinburgh from the Calton Hill with Calton Jail in foreground, by George Washington Wilson, albumen print, ca. 1865-1895
Calton Hill was the location of the notorious Calton Jail, a complex comprising a Debtors' Prison, the Bridewell (1791-96) by Robert Adam (later replaced) and a Felons' Prison of 1815-17 by Archibald Elliot. The jails were replaced by Saughton Prison and demolished in 1930 providing a site for St. Andrew's House, home to Scotland's senior civil servants. The sole surviving building is the castellated and turreted Governors House.

The Governor's House on Calton Hill
The Governor's House, designed by Archibald Elliot (1761-1823) who was also responsible for the nearby Waterloo Place and Regent Arch, is a building situated on the southernmost spur of the Calton Hill beside the south-east corner of Old Calton Burial Ground. It looks out over Waverley Station, the Canongate and Holyrood Park to the south.

As was mentioned before, this building is all that remains of the Calton Gaol, once the largest prison in Scotland, completed in 1817. The House contained the Committee Room used by the Commissioners who governed the prison. Its castellated and turreted form is similar to James Craig's Old Observatory House on the Calton Hill, but its design was more likely influenced by Robert Adam's older 'Bridewell' of 1791, which stood alongside the newer prison. The Gaol closed in 1927 and, except for the Governor's House, was demolished in the 1937 to make way for St Andrew's House.

The National Monument as seen from the Nelson Monument
Playfair was responsible for many of the monumental structures on the summit of the hill most notably the Scottish National Monument. This monument was intended to be another Parthenon and to commemorate Scottish Soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars. Construction started in 1826 but work was stopped in 1829 when the building was only partially built due to lack of money. It has never been completed.For many years this failure to complete led to its being nicknamed "Scotland's Disgrace" but this name has waned given the time elapsed since the Napoleonic Wars and it is now accepted for what it is.

Horatio Nelson Monument
The Nelson Monument is a commemorative tower in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, situated on top of Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, Scotland and provides a dramatic termination of the vista along Princes Street from the west. It was built between 1807 and 1815 to commemorate Nelson's victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and his own death at the same battle. In 1853 a time ball was added, as a time signal to shipping in Leith harbour, and to ships at the anchorage in the Firth of Forth known as Leith Roads, allowing the ships to set their chronometers.

The Time Ball on Nelson's Monument
The time ball was the idea of Charles Piazzi Smyth, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, and was originally triggered by a clock in the adjacent City Observatory, to which it was connected by an underground wire. The mechanism was the work of Maudslay, Sons & Field of Lambeth, who had previously constructed the time ball mechanism for Greenwich Observatory. The installation was carried out by James Ritchie & Son (Clockmakers) Ltd, who are still retained by City of Edinburgh Council to maintain and operate the time ball.

The ball, constructed of wood and covered in zinc, and weighing 762 kilograms (1,680 lb), is raised just before 1pm, and at precisely 1pm, is dropped from atop the mast. Later, in 1861, the One O'Clock Gun was established at Edinburgh Castle to provide an audible signal when fog obscured the time ball. The time ball was operated for over 150 years, until it was damaged by a storm in 2007. In 2009, as part of the restoration of the monument, the time ball was removed, and the mechanism repaired. The time ball was brought back into service on 24 September 2009.] The mechanism is now operated manually, based on the firing of the One O'Clock Gun.

The Dugald Stewart Monument
The Dugald Stewart Monument is a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753–1828). Situated on Calton Hill, the monument  designed by William Henry Playfair, was completed in August 1831. Dugald Stewart was a professor at the University of Edinburgh, holding the chair of moral philosophy from 1786 until his death. The Royal Society of Edinburgh commissioned the monument and selected its site in 1830.

The monument, modeled on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, is a circular temple of 9 fluted Corinthian columns around an elevated urn. This example of the architecture of ancient Greece had been brought to wider attention by James "Athenian" Stuart and Nicholas Revett's illustrated survey, The Antiquities of Athens, published in 1762. The Choragic Monument also provided the model for the nearby Robert Burns Monument, designed by Thomas Hamilton around the same time. 

Robert Burns National Memorial in Edinburgh
Following the erection of a mausoleum on the grave of Robert Burns (Scotland's National poet) in Dumfries in 1815 there was a general move for memorials and statues of the bard in other Scottish towns and cities.

After a large subscription from Scottish expatriates in 1817 from India, a monument in Edinburgh was funded with Thomas Hamilton winning this commission, after several years of debate, in 1831, largely repeating the Alloway design, but designed to contain a full sized statue of Burns by John Flaxman. The statue was later removed to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery where it remains on display.

Although the Alloway monument is accessible all year round, sadly the Edinburgh memorial is only accessible on special occasions such as Doors Open Day (usually one weekend in late October in Edinburgh).

The Old Royal High School on Calton Hill
After the Old Royal High School was vacated in 1968, the building became available to house the proposed devolved Scottish Assembly, and was accordingly refurbished in the 1970s. However, the 1979 devolution referendum failed to provide sufficient backing for a devolved Assembly in Scotland. Instead the building has been used as offices for departments of Edinburgh City Council, including The Duke of Edinburgh's Award unit and the Sports and Outdoor Education unit.

The City Observatory on Calton Hill
The City Observatory, also known as Observatory House, the Old Observatory, or after its designer James Craig House, is an astronomical observatory located on Calton Hill. The central building with the appearance of a Greek temple is the Playfair Building, named after the building's designer William Henry Playfair. This houses the 6-inch (15 cm) refractor in its dome and the 6.4-inch (16 cm) transit telescope in its eastern wing. The largest dome of the site is the City Dome in the northeast corner. During the early 20th century this contained a 22-inch (56 cm) refractor.

Calton Hill, along with Edinburgh Castle, is to Edinburgh what the iconic Big Ben is for London.  Views of, and from, the hill are often used in photographs and paintings of the city.

I have a few more photos of Edinburgh to share with you, but we had our time change last night, so even though the clock says it's only 2 AM, my body is telling me it is 3 AM, so I'm going to share one more thing with you, then say goodnight.

Hubby purchased a dinner from Marks and Spencer, which included a bottle of wine, lasagne, veggies, and profiteroles, which are like tiny eclairs in a small, round pastry shape all for 10 GBP.  He added the salad of cucumbers, greens, red onions and cherry tomatoes.  Very good.

Eating Dinner around the computer
I'll check in again tomorrow.  Good night. 


  1. I don't follow football, but I find it very interesting that the NFL is sponsoring games in England. The NHL sponsors games in Europe, too, and it seems that they add more teams and games every year. The world is getting smaller.

    The information about the time ball was fascinating. It really makes you realize how we relate to our clocks. At one time (during the time ball's heyday), we could get our time from a central location in our cities. And now we get our time from cell towers to our cell phones. So much has changed, but the old ways still resonate.

  2. I don't follow football at all, but hubby was glued to the screen. Since we were located within walking distance of the castle, we kept thinking we'd hear the one o'clock gun being fired, but we never did. Nor did we see the ball rise and fall. Somehow we always managed to miss it.

    Thanks for commenting.