Replica of 19th-century lamp to illuminate Greyfriars Bobby statue

The new lamp at the Grey Friars Bobby statue. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The new lamp at the Grey Friars Bobby statue. Picture: Ian Georgeson
4
Have your say

It is a shaggy dog story which has entertained the Capital – and the world – since Victorian times.

Now even more light is to be shed on the tale of Greyfriars Bobby.

A replica of a gas lamp which illuminated the treasured terrier’s statue in the 1800s has been given pride of place – and is set to become the world’s most photographed 
streetlight.

The makeover was the brainchild of the One O’Clock Gun and Timeball Association, with funding from Edinburgh World Heritage and Edinburgh City Council.

The statue, which sits at the corner of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row, dates to 1873 and was commissioned by Baroness Burdett-Coutts, the president of the Ladies Committee of the RSPCA.

The lamp column was cut down when the city’s streetlights were converted to electricity in the 1950s, and later all traces were removed.

Edinburgh World Heritage awarded a grant of £3721 towards the development, manufacture and installation of the new lamp column and lantern.

The design was developed after investigation of historic photographs and salvaged original lamp columns.

George Robinson of the One O’Clock Gun and Timeball Association said: “The lamppost is superb, it’s amazing the difference it makes to the 
fountain.

“The Capital now has the most famous dog in the world and the most photographed lamppost.”

The tale of Greyfriars Bobby is synonymous with Edinburgh and has featured in two films.

The story goes that when Bobby’s owner died, the loyal dog refused to leave him. Bobby sat day after day, guarding his old master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Those living nearby took the dog to their hearts and fed him scraps of food.

Fiona Rankin, World 
Heritage projects manager said: “We were delighted to be able to help improve the setting for this important city 
landmark. The statue of 
Greyfriars Bobby has to be one of the most photographed locations in Edinburgh, so it is highly appropriate that this 
traditional style of lighting is now reinstated.”

The project is part of a scheme of public realm improvements to George IV Bridge which has enhanced the pavements along the important Old Town street.

The city council’s culture and leisure convener, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “The tale of Greyfriars Bobby is an enchanting part of Edinburgh’s heritage and this investment will add to people’s enjoyment of the statue and surrounding area – particularly at night.

“The new lamp nicely reflects how it would have looked in Victorian times, adding to the sense of history and tradition.”