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The Piazzi Blog

17th April 2018

Princes St Gardens

Princes St Gardens

The riggers carried the rope through West Princes Street Gardens to the top of the Mound. When the riggers reached the top of the Mound the cable began to unwind from the drum which had been set up in the watchtower. The cable which weighed 4 cwt. consisted of seven wires manufactured from the finest steel encased in gutta percha half an inch in circumference. Poles were set up support the cable along the route. image credit ‘Old and New Edinburgh’ by James Grant.

10th April 2018

Mons Meg

Mons Meg

Early in the morning about 4am on 22nd April 1861 the work to rig the cable connecting the electric clock designed to fire the time gun and the Nelson Monument began. The rigging was supervised by Robert Stirling Newall the manufacturer of the cable. The drum holding the cable was set up on a wooden frame inside the watch tower standing between the Argyle Battery and the Mons Meg Battery. Using a windlass and gearing a rope attached to the end of the cable was lowered by the riggers down to West Princes Street Gardens. Professor Piazzi Smyth and Frederick James Ritchie were at the fortress to observe the operation. Image credit ‘Old and New Edinburgh’ by James Grant.

3rd April 2018

Transit Telescope

Transit Telescope

The Collective is presently closed to prepare the interior of the buildings for the opening. When the observatory opens later this year, it will be possible for the public to see the transit telescope, the electric clocks and the scientific instruments used by the Astronomer Royals for Scotland and their assistants during the 19th century. image credit Dr Bruce Vickery

27th March 2018

Greyfriars Bobby Plaque

Greyfriars Bobby Plaque

A plaque has been set up at the front door of the ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ public bar in Candlemaker Row. The plaque explains that Colour Sergeant Scott of the Royal Engineers lived in the building when he was stationed in Edinburgh.

20th March 2018

The Eighty Seven

The Eighty Seven

Although Hamilton & Inches of George Street's 150th anniversary took place in 2016, the company has produced a new watch to mark the occasion. Founded in 1866 by Robert Kirk Inches and his uncle James Hamilton, the company was granted the warrant as ‘His Majesty’s Clockmaker and Keeper and Dresser of His Majesty’s Clocks, Watches and Pendulums in Palaces and Houses in his Ancient Kingdom of Scotland.’ The company continues to supply clocks and watches to royalty and the Admiralty today. The current warrant is ‘Silversmiths and Clock Specialists to Her Majesty The Queen.’ The Eighty Seven has a signature H&I dial with sapphire crystal and alligator strap in a wide variety of colours and a brushed and polished stainless steel case. The parts used in creating the new wristwatch were sourced by Ian Malone the company’s watch technician. The wristwatch is assembled and tested by the Edinburgh company in their workshop. image credit Hamilton & Inches.

15th March 2018

Colour Sgt Scott

Colour Sgt Scott

Greyfriars Bobby Bar re-opens on Friday 23rd March at 5.00 pm. The public bar has been enlarged. Bob Lawson will be playing the ‘Tribute to Greyfriars Bobby’ at the opening as Jennifer Hutcheon the official One o’ Clock Gun Asscn piper is unable to attend. Lisa Fleming will be coming along with Bob the association’s official mascot. Caroline Walker of City Tours will be present wearing Victorian dress. Members of the Royal Engineers Association will be present as Colour Sergeant Scott who fed the little dog lodged in the building when he was stationed in Edinburgh. The colour sergeant is buried in Piershill Cemetery, Edinburgh.

15th March 2018

Museum of Edinburgh

Museum of Edinburgh

Alexandra Laudo a Barcelona-based curator will be presenting a public lecture on her research at the Museum of Edinburgh in the Canongate on 1st April at 5.30 pm. Drawing on her project ‘An intellectual history of the clock’, her talk will discuss the social construction of time and its measurement, the history of clocks, the implementation of clock time and the history of timekeeping on Calton Hill.

8th March 2018

McLeod Exhibit

McLeod Exhibit

A small display on the unveiling of the memorial stone for John McLeod is now running at the Scottish Department, Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh until the 17th March. The display will then move to the Art Department

25th February 2018

Joseph Whitworth

Joseph Whitworth

Sir John Pender MP presented the Edinburgh City Artillery Volunteers with a six-pound Whitworth field gun in 1862. The wealthy businessman owned a large collection of paintings, including works by J M W Turner, Joshua Reynolds, John Everett Millais, Gainsborough and Canaletto. Joseph Whitworth was employed at the workshops of Maudslay, Son & Field who designed and built the lifting machinery for the time ball on the Nelson Monument. image credit Wikimedia Commons

18th February 2018

The Ceremony

The Ceremony

The ceremony to unveil John McLeod’s memorial stone went well. Bailie Staniforth said a few words on the artist and his work before the One o’ Clock Gun fired from the Castle. Derek MacLeod the artist’s great great grandson travelled up from Norwich with his wife and two daughters to attend the ceremony. Caroline Walker and her brother attended as PC Gray and his wife. Bob the official mascot of the One o’ Clock Gun Asscn stood to attention as Jennifer Hutcheon played the “Tribute to Greyfriars Bobby’. Major Nicol from the Royal Artillery Council of Scotland was also present.

11th February 2018

Royal Review 1860

Royal Review 1860

The Edinburgh City Artillery Volunteers took part in the Royal Scottish Volunteer Review at Holyrood Park in August 1860. The 1st Company consisting of over forty gunners including, Alexander Ritchie quartermaster, sergeants Robertson, Hay and Vallance was commanded by Captain James Ballantyne. Lt. Spence was second in command. Sam Bough RSA painted the review which is now in the collection of the National Galleries Scotland. image credit National Galleries Scotland.

4th February 2018

Joseph Noel Paton

Joseph Noel Paton

Born in Wooers’ Alley Cottage, Dunfermline in 1821 artist Joseph Noel Paton joined the ‘Smashers Club’ which was formed in Edinburgh in 1848. The sketching club’s president was John Ballantyne. The members included James Archer, William Crawford, John and Tom Faed and William Fettes Douglas. In 1859 the artists decided to form the 1st Edinburgh City Artillery Volunteers No. 1 Battery. Noel Paton RSA was appointed captain and John Faed first lieutenant. James Archer who was appointed second lieutenant was responsible for the administration of the battery. Supervised by Master Gunner Findlay who was responsible for maintaining and firing the One o’ clock Gun, the part-time gunners used the twelve pounders on the Argyle Battery at Edinburgh Castle to practice artillery drill. image credit Wikimedia Commons

29th January 2018

John McLeod Memorial

The John McLeod Memorial

The One o' Clock Gun Asscn will be unveiling a memorial stone to the memory of John McLeod the artist who painted the portrait of Greyfriars Bobby hanging in the visitors centre at Greyfriars Kirk. The unveiling will take place in the New Calton Cemetery in Regent Road on Saturday 17th February at 12.45 pm. The ceremony is open to the public. We’d be glad to see you if you can attend. The cemetery is divided into two parts. John McLeod is buried on the north side of the cemetery. The stone has been provided by Purves Funeral Directors, Edinburgh. Tim Purves one of the company’s directors will be attending the ceremony. image credit Wikimedia Commons

22nd January 2018

Greyfriars Bobby Painting

Greyfriars Bobby Painting

John McLeod was born on 18 July 1812 in Golspie, Sutherland. Moving to Edinburgh in the 1830s he specialised in painting cattle, horses and dogs. He received commissions from wealthy landowners including Lord Abercromby and the Duke of Buccleuch. Following the hearing at the Burgh Court in 1867 to establish the identity of Greyfriars Bobby's owner, the artist was commissioned to paint a portrait of the terrier. Loaned by the owner Thomas Cowan, the painting entitled ‘Greyfriars Bob’ was shown at the RSA’s annual exhibition in the South Octagon Room in the National Gallery of Scotland the following year.The artist also painted a portrait of the little dog lying in a kennel which was presented to the Kirk Session of Old Greyfriars. The niece of a celebrated English writer wrote to the ‘Scotsman’ offering to provide a kennel for the dog shortly after the hearing in the Burgh Court. The painting which was restored by Kenneth Brien in 1986 can now be seen in the visitors’ centre. The prolific painter who lived at 28 Buccleuch Place died on 16th February 1872. His wife Mary Ann McLeod died on 8th August at Seafield Place in Leith.

15th January 2018

Greyfriars Bobby Day

The ceremony

The cold weather failed to prevent the local residents and tourists turning up to mark the anniversary of the death of Greyfriars Bobby. Bert Hutchings deputising for the Reverend Richard Frazer introduced the main guest Councillor Lezley Cameron who delivered a tribute to the memory of the little dog. Bert an elder at Greyfriars continued the theme by informing the guests on the life of Dr Robert Lee the minister of Old Greyfriars who died 150 years ago next month. The innovative minister was responsible for installing the church's stained glass windows and introducing a harmonium. Lisa Fleming and Bob the mascot of the One o' Clock Gun Asscn laid the wreath from the Lord Provost and the citizens of Edinburgh on the terrier's grave as Jennifer Hutcheon the association's piper played a 'Tribute to Greyfriars Bobby'. Following the ceremony the guests were invited to Greyfriars for a cup of tea served by the ladies of the kirk and a chocolate biscuit. Greyfriars Kirk guide Willie Telford showed visitors round the church, while Wallace Ferguson took a number of the guests including Councillor Cameron to 'Auld Jock's' headstone the spot where the little dog's owner is said to be buried.

7th January 2018

Dr Lee and Bobby

Dr Lee and Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby Day is held annually on January 14th at the little dog’s headstone in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Edinburgh, Scotland UK. As the terrier went for his dinner when the time gun fired from the Half Moon Battery at Edinburgh Castle, the ceremony normally starts with the firing of the One o’ clock Gun. As the time gun does not fire on a Sunday, this year's ceremony will begin at 1.30 following the morning sermon in the church. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Dr Robert Lee the minister of Old Greyfriars. As Dr Lee was chaplain to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when they came to Scotland on frequent visits, he would have kept the royal couple informed on the little dog's welfare. A bust of Dr Lee can be seen inside the church on the north wall above the burial door. Dr Lee was responsible for installing the beautiful stained glass windows in the building where the National Covenant was signed, transformng the interior. John MacLeod's painting of the terrier sitting in a kennel can be seen in the visitors' centre. When you arrive in Edinburgh, head for Greyfriars which Sir Walter Scott described as 'Scotland's Westminster'.

19th December 2017

Vladivostok Gun

Vladivostok Gun

The tradition of firing a time signal resumed in Vladivostok in 1970 when the shot was fired from a 100mm field gun on ‘Tiger Hill’. The time signal continued until 1996. Since 1997 the signal was fired by a 45mm signalling cannon on the battery ‘With No Name’ until 2008 when it became difficult to obtain the charges. The tradition was resumed on 12th June 2016 which marks Russia Day. Information on the Vladivostok time gun can be seen here

12th December 2017

Appleton Tower

Exhibition Information

The Scottish Military Collectors Society held a Militaria Fair in the Appleton Tower, Edinburgh in 1972 which proved to be very popular with the public. A second fair was held lasting two days in the same venue the following year. In addition to members from the society’s branches in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the 4th Royal Tank Regiment and the Royal Scots supported the event which was attended by collectors from all over Scotland. image credit Wikimedia Commons

5th December 2017

Exhibition Information

Exhibition Information

Although the One o’ Clock Gun Asscn was formed in 1998, it’s history can be traced back to an exhibition of toy and model soldiers held in the Scottish Tourist Board Hall, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh in December 1961. The committee consisted of William Thorburn, curator of the Scottish United Services Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Councillor Patrick Murray curator of the Museum of Childhood, Peter Gouldesbrough of the Scottish Record Office, Stuart Barrie of the Edinburgh College of Art and Basil Skinner assistant keeper Scottish Portrait Gallery. The exhibition was held in aid of Dr Barnado’s Homes. The exhibition led to the formation of the Scottish Model Soldier Society which later developed into the Scottish Military Collectors Society. Image credit Alan Grieve