Waverley’s 200th birthday helped by Walter Scott

HE is one of Edinburgh’s greatest sons – and from today his wit and wisdom adorns the station named after his first novel.

Some of Sir Walter Scotts rhyme and prose will adorn Waverley Station

More than 30 passages in rhyme and prose by Sir Walter Scott have appeared on walls, glass panels and ­walkways.

The move celebrates the 200th birthday of Waverley, the world’s first historical novel, and coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Capital’s designation as the first Unesco City of Literature.

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Sir Walter’s words will remain in the station for at least a month while 25,000 copies of a free pocket book – Great Scott! – are given away to passengers.

Some of Sir Walter Scotts rhyme and prose will adorn Waverley Station

Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust, said the station was an ideal place to celebrate and promote Scott’s legacy.

She said: “Most people know about Scott – the world’s tallest monument to a writer is the Scott Monument on Princes Street – but they might not know his books and we hope this campaign helps people discover the man and his words.”

Among the quotations will be “O, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive!” which comes from Marmion, and is often wrongly attributed to Shakespeare.

Juliet Donnachie, Network Rail’s station manager for Waverley, believes Scott himself would have liked the idea.

“As the only station in the world named after a novel, I like to think that Waverley retains a bit of romance with modern railways,” she said.

“Sir Walter Scott was the most prominent Scot of his time and it’s appropriate that the main railway station in Scotland’s capital continues to acknowledge his influence.

“Waverley Station is steeped in history – it has been the stage for millions of stories since the Victorian era and I think Sir Walter would like that.”

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is supporting the campaign with a Scott-theme in its Once Upon a Place programme, which runs from October 24 to November 2.

There will also be a display of Scott’s work, featuring the original manuscript of Waverley, at the National Library of Scotland until November 16.

The Great Scott! campaign manager, Dr Douglas McNaughton, stressed Scott’s profound influence on Charles Dickens and Jules Verne, and in the modern day on George RR Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture leader, said: “I’m sure the installation of Scott’s quotes will provide a great starting point for exploring Scott’s legacy in the city, and will even serve to cheer up the weariest of commuters.”


Some of Sir Walter Scott’s finest pieces of work:

“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!”


“One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.”

Count Robert of Paris

“Fortune may rob us of our wealth, not of our courage”

Rob Roy

“Revenge is the sweetest morsel to the mouth, that ever was cooked in hell”

The Heart of Midlothian