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Edinburgh, Observatory Road, Harrison Memorial Arch

Archway (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Observatory Road, Harrison Memorial Arch

Classification Archway (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 140968

Site Number NT27SE 3758

NGR NT 26252 70824

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/140968

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 3758 26252 70824

Architecture Notes

NMRS REFERENCE:

Plans:

Dick Peddie and MacKay, Edinburgh (cancelled)

Architect: Sydney Mitchell 1886 - 1888

Drawings in plan chest - drawer 2

See Historical File (1.12)

CITY CHAMBERS REFERENCE:

Plans: City Architect's Plan Store, drawer no 88, contains:

a. Plan of Blackford Hill shewing ground and accesses acquired by the Magistrates and Council as a Public Park from Colonel Trotter of Mortonhall, dated Burgh Engineer's Office, Edinburgh, June 1884

b. Cloth tracing of 'Proposed Harrison Memorial'. Two scales are shown but the tracing is dimensioned. Dated 1888 from 13 Young Street, the address of Sydney Mitchell, Architect (N B R 1 dyeline drawer 5)

c. Copy of plan of site for the new Royal Observatory, signed by W W Robertson, H M Office of Works, Edinbrugh, January 1890; and by John Boyd, Lord Provost and Wm Skinner, Town Clerk, March 1890.

d. Plan of ground called 'Egyptfield' and enbracing the pond, dated Burgh Engineer's Office, 1906 and also Public Works Office, 1907

e. Contract drawings of Keeper's Lodge at North Entrance by Public Works Office, 1903

The City Architect's Department also holds the plans of 1938 of Pavillion and West Entrance.

Activities

Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (http://www.pmsa.org.uk/) set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (20 February 2000)

Red sandstone arch containing a bronze portrait medallion of George Harrison in the pediment.

The structure takes the form of a Roman triumphal arch and has a large central archway over the road, and two smaller archways for pedestrians, one on each side. Above each of the smaller archways is an inscription panel flanked by large attached Ionic columns on pedestals. Above the central arch is a large triangular pediment. A balustrade runs along the top of the structure.

Built to commemorate Lord Provost Harrison who died in 1885. The Town Council of Edinburgh originally proposed that the memorial to Sir George Harrison should be a stained glass window in St Giles' Cathedral. It was eventually decided that Sir William Fettes Douglas' idea of a large monumental gateway at the entrance to Blackford Hill would be more appropriate, as Harrison was the means of procuring Blackford Hill as a public park. Robert Rowand Anderson, Hippolyte J. Blanc and Arthur George Sydney Mitchell were all invited to submit designs. Sydney Mitchell's design was selected. The bronze medallion is by Charles McBride, after his bust of Harrison in the Town Council Chamber.

George Harrison, Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1882-1885.

Inscriptions : On left hand panel: THIS . ARCH . IS . ERECTED / 12TH . SEPT . 1888 / TO . COMMEMORATE / THE WORK AND CHARACTER OF / GEORGE . HARRISON / KT . MP . LL.D / WHOSE . LIFE . WAS . DEVOTED / TO . THE . PUBLIC . GOOD / BORN . 1812 . DIED . 1885

Below pediment: IN . COMMVNEM . MVNICIPII . REM . DILIGENTIA . IN . SINGVLOS / MVNICIPES . BENIGNITAS . IN . OMNES . HOMINES . IVSTITIA . ET . FIDES

Right hand panel: BLACKFORD . HILL / WAS . AQUIRED . & . OPENED / TO . THE . PUBLIC . BY . THE / CITY . OF . EDINBURGH / 1884 / THE . RT . HONBLE / SIR . GEORGE . HARRISON .LL.D / LORD . PROVOST

Signatures : None

Year of unveiling : 1888

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0935)

Project (28 July 2016 - 11 August 2016)

A cultural heritage desk based assessment for the proposed redevelopment focused on the Geosciences Buildings and Engineering Buildings, King's Buildings, University of Edinburgh was undertaken in August 2016. The proposed development site is located at the west extent of the King's Buildings Campus in the south of Edinburgh centred on NGR NT 26466 70599. The proposed development comprises redevelopment of the Geosciences and Engineering buildings within the King's Buildings Campus.

Information from Callum Allsop (Rubicon Heritage Services) 11 August 2016: OASIS ID: rubiconh1-261722

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