Brand new sign of the times gone by

THE history of the oldest building in Portobello has been cast on a plaque.

Portobello Tower was built from rubble for lawyer John Cunningham in 1785 and is said to incorporate bits of Old College, Edinburgh Mercat Cross and St Andrews Cathedral.

It has just undergone a major refurbishment under current owner Mark Noble, of Tower Amusements, and the plaque was erected last week to recount its history.

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It is the tenth plaque erected by Portobello Community Council in the past eight years, as part of their project to document the history of the community.

Celia Butterworth of Portobello Community Council said: "The latest plaque has been erected at the Tower. It's an idiosyncratic building behind the amusements, on Beach Lane.

"The plaque cost around 490 to create, funded by an East Edinburgh Neighbourhood Partnership grant, and it didn't cost us anything to hang because Mark Noble himself offered to hang it for free, so that saved us around 60.

"It's made from cast aluminium. Other plaques have been made out of bronze but we discovered that they had a tendency to discolour in the sea air."

The first plaque was erected in 2002, dedicated to newspaperman and geologist Hugh Miller. Later plaques commemorated antiquarian David Laing, artist Sir William Russell Flint, Antarctic explorer William Speirs Bruce, cross-Channel swimmer Ned Barnie and pianist Helen Hopekirk, as well as marking the sites of two previous Portobello town halls and Rock Cottage, the oldest house in Portobello.