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Whita Hill, Malcolm Monument

Commemorative Monument (19th Century)

Site Name Whita Hill, Malcolm Monument

Classification Commemorative Monument (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Langholm Monument; Langholm Obelisk

Canmore ID 67699

Site Number NY38SE 50

NGR NY 37935 84686

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Langholm
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY38SE 50 37935 84686

For quarries immediately to N, see NY38SE 246.

Monument [NAT]

[Spot height 355m]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1983.


Architect: Robert Howe.

Built by Thomas Slacks, 1835.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Whita Hill: on the summit of the hill, a tall granite obelisk on a square pedestal, erected in 1835 to commemorate General Sir John Malcolm. It was designed by Robert Howe, with Thomas Slacks as engineer and contractor.

J Gifford 1996.


Publication Account (2007)

This 100 ft high white sandstone masonry obelisk, which dominates the local landscape, was designed by Howe and erected in 1835 to the memory of Eskdale-born diplomatist and administrator Sir John Malcolm who had died two years earlier. It is situated on top of Whita Hill, a mile to the east of Langholm, and reached by footpath. Two engineers helped in its creation, Telford and, indirectly, Robert Stevenson. Telford, who had known Sir John Malcolm well and had written a laudatory poem to him in 1831, was the monument’s leading promoter, subscribing £50 out of the total of £396 by 188 well-wishers, but did not live to see it built.

The cost of erection of the obelisk by the ingenious Mr. T. Slack of Langholm was greatly reduced by the use of a modified version of the balance crane invented by Francis Watt under the direction of Stevenson for erecting

Bell Rock Lighthouse (1810) and the Melville Column, St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh (1821). For this development, and innovative hanging scaffolding used for completing the pyramidal top of the monument, Slack was awarded the Gold Isis Medal of the Society of Arts.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.


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