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The Piazzi Blog

28th December 2014

Edinburgh Gun

The 32 Pounder

The One o’ clock Gun does not fire on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. A 32 pounder breach loading smooth bore mounted on a sliding carriage was used to fire the signal during the First World War. The time gun did not fire during the final months due to the fact that the report was proving detrimental to the officers and soldiers being treated in the city’s hospitals for shell shock. J. Dooley was responsible for maintaining and loading the time gun from 1901 until 1922

21st December 2014

Royal High School

The Royal High School

The Royal High School which stands on Regent Road is to be turned into a luxury hotel. In 1859 HRH the Prince of Wales spent three months at the school studying French, German, Italian and geography. He also studied Roman history with the school's rector Dr Schmitz. It’s more than likely that the prince visited the Royal Observatory on the Calton HIll which received a royal charter from King George in 1822.

14th December 2014

Peter Guthrie Tait

Peter Guthrie Tait

Peter Guthrie Tait joined the Board of Visitors of the Royal Observatory in 1862, the year following the setting up of the One o’clock Gun. Born in Dalkeith in 1831, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University before studying at Cambridge. Good humoured and easy to get along with, he was the ideal man to advise and assist Piazzi Smyth with his plans to modernize the observatory and purchase new equipment. He was also a very good golfer.

9th December 2014

Calton Hill Observatory

Calton Hill Observatory

The Collective Gallery opened the City Observatory's doors to the public today. Dr Bruce Vickery was on hand to explain the history of the observatory and the work carried out by Professor Piazzi Smyth the Astronomer Royal for Scotland and his predecessor Thomas Henderson. Although the weather was wet and windy a fair number of visitors took the opportunity to look around the grounds. Visitors were fascinated to learn that an instrument for measuring earthquakes invented by Horace a son of Charles Darwin had been set up in the compound.