Calton Hill, Photos, History, Location, Architects, Dates, Buildings, Images
Calton Hill, Buildings + Monuments : Edinburgh Architecture
Historic Architecture, central Edinburgh, Scotland
Calton Hill Edinburgh
Athens of the North – the Scottish Enlightenment
The scattered monuments on Calton Hill go a long way to earning Edinburgh the sobriquet ‘Athens of the North’. I have never been keen on cities trying to impress by referring to another but in this case there are strong historical reasons why this came about.
Calton Hill is largely an area of civic parkland but to the East are the
Georgian Terraces of Calton, a desirable residential location including the grand Royal Terrace – facing East – and Calton Terrace – facing South.
Many people visit Calton Hill for the view back over Edinburgh and out to the sea. However, Calton Hill is very important architecturally. Almost every building on Calton Hill dates from the Enlightenment and the ubiquitous Greek and principally Acropolis references symbolised erudition:-
Duguld Stewart Monument is modelled on Tower of the Winds in Athens by Lysicrates. The primary example, dominating Calton Hill is the National Monument (to the Napoleonic Dead), which is based on Acropolis, Athens. Located on the southern edge of Calton Hill, the Royal High School’s Greek Doric columns are based on the Temple of Theseus, overlooking Athens.
Calton Hill Buldings
The various buildings and monuments on Calton Hill or in the adjacent Calton Burial Grounds are as follows:-
Dugald Stewart Monument
image © Adrian Welch
photo © Adrian Welch
photograph © Adrian Welch
The City Observatory
picture © Adrian Welch
Buildings on the south slopes of the hill:
Royal High School
Calton Old Burial Ground:
Governor’s House (former Edinburgh Gaol)
Memorial to David Hume
Calton Burial Ground
If you return here to the centre along Waterloo Place (hugely expensive ‘bridge’ from 1815), visit the Calton Old Burial Ground on the left. Here there is Hamilton’s Obelisk to Political Martyrs and Robert Adam’s Memorial to David Hume, 1777, and Bridewell.
Proposals being prepared by Simpson & Brown for David Hume’s Mausoleum on behalf of The Hume Enlightenment Trust. Apr 2008
To the East of the enclosure sits the Governor’s House, Archibald Elliot (architect of nearby Waterloo Place), 1817, the only remaining part of the huge Calton Gaol that was replaced by St Andrew’s House. Sir Rowand Anderson referred to this House as a toy castle on account of its fake battlements, but for many it adds to the romanticism of valley and hill.
More Scottish Architects: Scottish Architecture
Scottish Castles in Edinburgh & Lothian
Calton Hill is 108m high (355 feet). It is not the highest of the Edinburgh’s famous ‘seven hills’. Calton Hill was volcanic similar to Arthur’s Seat and Castle Rock.
No larger images, apologies:
photo © Adrian Welch
Calton Hill buildings & monuments:-
Nelson Monument 1807-15 designed by Robert Burn
National Monument 1822, modelled on the Parthenon but also known as ‘Edinburgh’s disgrace’
City Observatory housing Observatory House 1776 designed by James Craig
Old Observatory 1818 designed by William Henry Playfair Category A listed – Home of Astronomical Society
City Dome 1895 designed by Robert Moreham
Monument to philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753 – 1828) designed by William Playfair
Monument to mathematician John Playfair (1748 – 1819) designed by William Playfair
Monument commemorating the success of the vigil for the return of the Scottish Parliament, 1998
Calton Hill context : Edinburgh New Town
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