Scott Monument construction

These 10 incredible early photos show Edinburgh's famous Scott Monument under construction

It's one of the country's most recognisable architectural landmarks, but, if not for the emergence of a pair of photographic pioneers, its mid-nineteenth century construction would be lost to the sands of time.

From their little makeshift studio situated on the slopes of Calton Hill, Messrs David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson produced a large number of calotype images capturing Edinburgh's famous Scott Monument during its five-year construction between 1841 and 1846. Thanks to Hill & Adamson's efforts we can track the progress of the world's tallest monument to a writer - the legendary Sir Walter Scott - as it rose to kiss the skies above East Princes Street Gardens. Photography at the time was in its infancy, with the world's first ever permanent photograph having been taken in France in 1826. That makes the Scott Monument series very special indeed. All images: University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections.

Architect George M. Kemp opted for a Gothic design using design elements from 12th century Melrose Abbey. Kemp tragically fell in the Union Canal one foggy night in 1844 and never saw his monument complete.

1. The architect

Architect George M. Kemp opted for a Gothic design using design elements from 12th century Melrose Abbey. Kemp tragically fell in the Union Canal one foggy night in 1844 and never saw his monument complete.
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Quite possibly Scotland's earliest known image of construction workers.

2. Construction workers

Quite possibly Scotland's earliest known image of construction workers.
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The finished article in 1846 - minus the more than double life-sized marble statue of Sir Walter Scott and his dog, Maida.

3. Complete monument from Princes Street

The finished article in 1846 - minus the more than double life-sized marble statue of Sir Walter Scott and his dog, Maida.
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Finishing touches being made to an almost complete Scott Monument in 1845.

4. Scott's scaffold

Finishing touches being made to an almost complete Scott Monument in 1845.
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