Illuminating Sir Walter Scott

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Scott's statue is quite clean

Scott’s statue is quite clean…

On Edinburgh’s Princes Street there is the Scott Memorial, a large Victorian red stone edifice to the man whose creations can be named by many even if they don’t know his name. Ivanhoe and Rob Roy are just two characters that are known the world over from his novels.

His monument isn’t open to the public at the moment as workmen are installing £70,000 of lighting so that Scott can be seen to better effect when it gets dark.

It might have been useful if, at the same time, the lighting was installed that also made the monument more attractive to visitors by cleaning it.  Scott himself is comparatively clean but the monument around him is quite grubby. Walk down Princes Street to the statue of Thomas Guthrie and it is much cleaner even if it is made of Portland stone rather than the Binnie sandstone which is what was used in the Scott memorial

...the monument around his statue isn't

…the monument around his statue isn’t

I don’t know when the Scott Monument was last cleaned and neither did the man I asked. In all the years I have been coming to the city I can’t remember it being cleaned.

Another person told me that they couldn’t clean the monument because they were concerned that they woud damage the sandstone. That’s why so much of Edinburgh reatins a grimy look. Others, I have to say, find it attractive in an odd sort of way and say that Edinburgh would lose its character if it looked “modern.”

Other parts of Edinburgh need some refurbishment. Some of the Victorian buildings down near North Bridge and in the Royal Mile are in need of a general clean to remove the grime that, at the moment, is making the city look austere, grubby and uncared-for. The red stone is now a dark red at best and at worst – black.

Surely in this advanced age some chemist has come up with a cleaner that could remove some of the grime without damaging the stone? I any case, those buildings not made of sandstone could be cleaned.

It’s just as well that Edinburgh has so many tourist attractions so visitors will be lured to the city regardless of the cleanliness of the outside of the buildings and monuments.

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