Event to celebrate 200 years of Nelson Monument

Buggler Chris Trowbridge  from the Royal Marines Band at the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill

Buggler Chris Trowbridge from the Royal Marines Band at the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill

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The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill will be colourfully commemorated on Friday at 10.45am during a special event to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

A 40-piece naval band will perform before a drumhead service is held in front of the Monument.

Nelson Monument dressed with flags to celebrate Trafalgar Day on 21 October 1949. Pic: Copyright TSPL

Nelson Monument dressed with flags to celebrate Trafalgar Day on 21 October 1949. Pic: Copyright TSPL

A new plaque will then be unveiled before a wreath is laid inside and a two-minute silence held to mark Trafalgar Day and remember those who lost their lives on October 21, 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, including Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson himself.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said he hoped the anniversary would remind locals of the story behind the telescope-shaped structure, which rose into the Edinburgh skyline two centuries ago.

He said: “The new plaque will mark the 200th anniversary of the memorial and the city’s hopes for it to stand tall for at least another 200 years to come.

“The iconic structure was built in memory of Lord Nelson and all Scots who died in the Battle of Trafalgar, and a service is held every year on Trafalgar Day to remember their courage and sacrifice.

“I’m sure many local people and tourists won’t be aware of the history sitting on top of Calton Hill, but perhaps these commemorations will serve as a reminder of the story of Admiral Lord Nelson, who was fatally shot during the battle.”

At the start of the battle of Trafalgar, Nelson asked his officer to run up a signal, a simple endorsement of his confidence in his captains to lead their ships without further commands from their Admiral.

On Trafalgar Day the city still runs the signal wording “England expects that every man will do his duty” up the Nelson Monument, just as it was flown on board Nelson’s ship HMS Victory on October 21, 1805.

Baillie Norman Work, who will unveil the new plaque, added: “Nelson 200 will be a rare opportunity to see colourful flags draped around the monument, to hear the sounds of a traditional naval band and to share in the city’s history at one of the Capital’s greatest landmarks.

“I urge members of the public to come along and join us for this important historical occasion.”

Captain Chris Smith, the naval regional commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “I am delighted to be able to represent the Royal Navy at the 200th anniversary of the Nelson Monument for Trafalgar Day. It is my honour to have been invited to join.

“Where we previously have only used our Royal Marines buglers for the event, this time we’ve brought the whole band which will add greatly to the ceremonial occasion.

“Nelson himself died at the battle but was, rightly, revered as a national hero. It is fitting that, more than two centuries later, we still pay tribute to this great man and the city’s memorial still stands strong.”