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Edinburgh, Parliament Square, James Braidwood Statue

Statue (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Parliament Square, James Braidwood Statue

Classification Statue (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 306313

Site Number NT27SE 6083

NGR NT 25783 73580

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images


Administrative Areas

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


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( 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 (25 August 2008)

Standing bronze figure of James Braidwood, left foot forward, wearing fire-fighting uniform of jacket, trousers and knee-length boots. At knee level there are buttons at the sides of the trousers; on the left side of Braidwood's chest is a badge. He holds a helmet against his left thigh with his left hand. In his belt, at his right side, is a hammer; in his right hand is a [whistle ?]. Braidwood has mutton-chop sideburns and receding hair. The statue is placed on a cylindrical grey granite pedestal set into a circular pattern of stones.

In 2006 the James Braidwood Memorial Fund was set up by Dr Frank Rushbrook.

By October 2006 Kenny Mackay had produced a model for the statue. A site in Parliament Square was requested, but by January 2008 this was ruled out and Hunter Square was being considered. On 5 March 2008 the Edinburgh Evening News reported that the Parliament Square site was still a possibility after all (1), and on 23 June reported that it had been granted. Campaigners raised about £60,000, which included £10,000 from the City of Edinburgh Council's Pensions and Trusts Committee, £5000 from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, and £10,000 from the Surplus Fire Fund (which was set up from charitable donations from businessmen after the Great Fire of Edinburgh in 1824). The remaining funds came from Dr Frank Rushbrook and other private donors (2).

The statue was placed in Parliament Square on 25 July 2008 and unveiled on 5 September 2008 by Sir Timothy O'Shea, principal of Edinburgh University. The unveiling ceremony was opened by Edinburgh's Lord Provost, George Grubb, and was attended by members of the Braidwood family and Dr Frank Rushbrook. Forming a backdrop were horse-drawn vintage fire-engines, and firefighters in historic uniforms.

James Braidwood (1800-1861)

Inscriptions : On front of pedestal (incised gilt letters): JAMES / BRAIDWOOD / 1800-1861

On plaque on back of pedestal (raised letters): James Braidwood / 1800-1861 / Father of the British Fire Service //

This statue is dedicated to the memory of James / Braidwood, a pioneer of the scientific approach to fire- / fighting. It also recognises the courage and sacrifice of / fire-fighters, not only in Lothian and Borders Fire and / Rescue Service, but all over the world. //

In 1824, Edinburgh suffered two disastrous fires which / destroyed much of the old city. As a result, the City / Council decided to create the world's first Municipal / Fire Brigade and James Braidwood was appointed to / take command. //

Quickly establishing an effective service, he developed / new fire-fighting techniques, many of which are still / used today. In 1832, he left his native Edinburgh to / establish London's first full-time fire brigade. //

Always at the front of the action, he was killed whilst / fighting a fire in London's Tooley Street. //

This statue has been provided through the vision / and, to a degree, the generous sponsorship of / Dr Frank Rushbrook CBE - a former Firemaster of Edinburgh and a successor of James Braidwood.

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : 2006-2008

Year of unveiling : 2008

Unveiling details : 5 September 2008 (unveiled by Sir Timothy O'Shea)

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN1467)

Watching Brief (9 July 2008 - 10 July 2008)

NT 257 735 A watching brief was undertaken 9–10 July 2008 on groundworks associated with the erection of a statue. The fragmentary remains of a mortar bonded sandstone wall were identified. No other significant archaeological remains or artefacts were identified.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Ironside Farrar

Alan Duffy (AOC Archaeology Group), 2008


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