In July 1820 the ‘Dirk Van Heering’ of Schiedam in the Netherlands docked at the port of Leith. The captain Thomas Bowling took his chronometer up to the transit house on the Calton Hill. He was not admitted to the small building. The keeper did not know the rate of the clock or the difference between the mean and apparent time. The clock was also five minutes fast. Captain Bowling took his chronometer to the Albyn Club in Princes Street which had a transit instrument and a nautical almanac. image credit Wikimedia Commons
A tree dedicated to the memory of David Rintoul a member of the One o’ Clock Gun Asscn will be planted on Bruntsfield Links on Friday 25th May at 6.00 pm. In addition to being the chairman of the Tollcoss Community Council and running ‘The Tollcross Times’, David was a keen golfer. Guests are invited to return to the Golf Tavern following the ceremony.
image credit Liz Summerfield.
From the storehouse standing on the building site, the line was carried to the steep rocky spur beneath the Calton Jail. Pulling the rope up the spur, the riggers suspended the cable across Waterloo Place before carrying it to the foot of the Nelson Monument where it was hauled up to a window just below the second gallery. image credit ‘Old and New Edinburgh’ by James Grant.
From the station roof the riggers hoisted the rope up on to the roof of the New Buildings located at the corner of the North Bridge and Princes Street where the Balmoral Hotel now stands. The rope was then carried across the North Bridge to one of the storehouses standing on the vacant site where the General Post Office was scheduled to be built. Although Mr Newall suggested that the wire be permanently fixed to the roof of the New Buildings to relieve the weight of cable, his advice was not acted upon.
From the top of the Mound the riggers carried the cable along the south side of East Princes Street Gardens to the Waverley arriving at the station at nine o‘clock in the morning. The rope was then hoisted on to the roof of the station. Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags can be seen in the background. image credit Thomas Begbie
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.
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.
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
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.
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.