24 pounder

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The 24 pounder failed to fire due to a faulty friction tube. Although it was replaced by a 12 pounder, the gun also failed to fire at one the following day. The time gun fired successfully  on the third day.

Provost Lindsay

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William Lindsay the Provost of Leith was also present at the ceremony to launch the One o’ clock Gun. When he died in 1881 he was buried in South Leith Churchyard. image credit Leith and its antiquities.

Francis Brown Douglas

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Francis Brown Douglas the Lord Provost of Edinburgh was present at the official ceremony held to launch the One o’ Clock Gun at the Royal Observatory in June 1861. When he died in 1885 he was buried in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.  image credit The Lord Provosts of Edinburgh 1296 to 1932 published by Whitson

One o’ clock Gun ceremony

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The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce sent out approximately three hundred invitations for the ceremony to be held at one o’ clock  on 5th June 1861  in the Royal Observatory grounds, marking the launch of the city’s time service in the Royal Observatory’s grounds.

Free Tours



Each Saturday the Collective runs guided tours led by a staff team member featuring the history of the Calton Hill over the past 200 years. The tour covers the architecture and astronomical instruments on site including the new buildings constructed in 2017-18. Tours are free (donations welcome) and are not bookable in advance – places are allocated on a first come, first served basis on the day. The tour begins from just outside the entrance to the City Observatory building and lasts approximately 45 minutes. The Calton Hill is an exposed location so please dress for the weather (in severe weather tours may be cancelled).

Oor Big Braw Cosmos

Published by Luath Press “Oor Big Braw Cosmos – A Cocktail of Cosmic Science, Imagery and Poetry” is scheduled to appear in the bookshops in  mid-May  Professor John C. Brown the Astronomer Royal for Scotland and  eminent  Lallans Poet Rab Wilson have teamed up to produce 256 pages packed with   readable astronomy facts, stories, and biographies plus pithy related poems by Rab . The book is  teaming with astronomy related images – people, places, objects and artwork plus oodles of sky images from diverse sources including many superb ones taken in Scotland by amateurs, like the one on the cover.

78th Highlanders

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The 78th Highlanders arrived at Edinburgh Castle in February 1860. Although they were present when the trials took place to find the  most suitable battery to fire the signal from, the regiment left before the time gun fired for the first time.


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When William Brodie sculpted the statue of Greyfriars Bobby which sits on the drinking fountain at the junction of Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge he decided to reduce the size of the wee dog’s paws. Scotch terriers had large paws as they did a lot of digging.


Postcards featuring Bobby are available from the Greyfriars Kirk shop.