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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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.