THE city council has already been responsible for changing the face of the city centre, but surely giving one of Edinburgh’s iconic tourist spots a sex change is going a bit far.
Visitors found themselves being welcomed to “Princess” Street Gardens this week after a spelling blunder which was not noticed until an otherwise impressive new sign was put in place.
Embarrassingly the new sign, next to the Sir James Young Simpson monument, also proudly shows off the city council logo.
The city council is blaming the error on the manufacturers and has been forced into a temporary repair – by painting out the rogue “s” – until it receives a replacement. The name or location of the red-faced manufacturer has not been revealed.
But deputy council leader Steve Cardownie blasted the error as “ridiculous” and said the sign should have been correct “even if it was made in Timbuktu”.
He said: “Somebody’s head should be on the block for this. I think that even if they had commissioned the sign to be made in Timbuktu, it should have been correct. How can you get that wrong? It defies belief that one of the most iconic streets in the world, which features on nearly every postcard and is paraded and lauded by the Lord Provost, can see such an error. It is bad enough that contractors get it wrong, but a sign by the city council? How did somebody fail to notice when they put this sign up? It’s embarrassing.”
It is not the first time such signs have been subject to a gender change. In February last year, tram bosses decided to add the extra letter to an identical sign on Frederick Street. The notice said “Entry to Princess Street restricted”.
Businessman Andrew Burnett, 37, who works at Yard Digital on Rutland Square, said: “Will changing the name of Princes Street to Princess Street make the tram works any less ugly?”
Anthony Robson, 36, who works in the city centre, joked: “I would think the visiting King Elizabeth II and Princess William would be appalled.
Another Princes Street employee, who asked not to be named, said: “Why am I not surprised? They’ve made worse mistakes, but it smacks of stupidity. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.”
Conservative city centre councillor Joanna Mowat dubbed the mistake a “schoolboy howler”.
She said: “Edinburgh is a city full of literate people so they always spot embarrassing mistakes like this. It’s a schoolboy howler.”
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the spelling mistake, which was as a result of a manufacturing error. The sign has been corrected as a temporary measure.”
Roll call of shame
June 2006: Speeding tickets had to be cancelled after a 40mph speed limit sign was put up in a 30mph zone on Newington Road.
March 2007: A bus stop on The Mound informed visitors they were arriving at “Princess Street”.
August 2008: Workmen had to repaint a 20mph road marking at Coates Gardens because it was facing the wrong way.
October 2008: TIE bosses were left with red faces when they put up several large metal signs advising drivers of “no access via Hannover Street” – and adding a surplus “n”.
October 2008: A sign appeared on Princes Street pointing to “Waverly Station”.
April 2009: NHS Lothian had to replace a sign at Corstorphine Hospital which announced that visitors were arriving at “Cosrstorphine” Hospital.
March 2010: King’s Stables Lane was given near-identical signs, one on top of the other.
February 2011: TIE erected a sign in Frederick Street for “Princess Street”.