Forsyth Sphere is finally hoisted back into place

The Forsyth Sphere is restored to the top of the TopShop building on Princes Street. Pictures: Bernard Hunter Cranes
The Forsyth Sphere is restored to the top of the TopShop building on Princes Street. Pictures: Bernard Hunter Cranes
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IT’S the iconic city landmark that was unceremoniously stripped from the Capital’s skyline more than four years ago.

Not the ornate Forsyth Sphere has finally been returned to the roof of Topshop on Princes Street after it was removed without permission in 2012.

The Forsyth Sphere is restored to the top of the TopShop building on Princes Street
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The Forsyth Sphere is restored to the top of the TopShop building on Princes Street .

The three-tonne globe, which dates back more than a century, was craned into place in the early hours of yesterday morning after being fully restored.

We told earlier this year how retail magnate Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, was ordered to reinstate the sphere and initially given a deadline of March. The company removed the elaborate statue four years ago amid fears it had become unstable – but failed to secure the required permissions from the council.

Despite repeated calls for its return, the Forsyth Sphere spent years languishing in a steelyard in Fife.

The saga came to a head earlier this year when Arcadia missed the March deadline set by officials – and pleaded with the council not to issue any fine.

David McLean, of the Lost Edinburgh website, led the tireless campaign for the sphere’s return.

He said it had been a “long time coming”, adding: “I’ve been working closely with the campaign for a year and a half. It is amazing that it has now been completed. I’ve been in contact with construction firm Sharkey throughout and they told me when it would be back in place.

“I didn’t expect it to be back this soon as I had been in the dark since March this year. I felt a duty and responsibility to see this through as so many people had signed the petition. I wanted this campaign to be successful and for Lost Edinburgh to be remembered in a positive way.”

The A-listed Forsyth Building was built in 1906 and originally housed a department store run by RW Forsyth.

These days, Topshop and Topman occupy its lower floors – with the upper levels leased to Travelodge.

The intricate sphere at its top was designed by Gilbert Bayes and features the signs of the zodiac flanked by cherubic figures.

Its restoration was carried out by Edinburgh fine art foundry Powderhall Bronze, with construction company Sharkey working on the supporting turret.

The globe was craned into place in the early hours of Monday morning to minimise disruption to the tram line and traffic on Princes Street.

A council spokeswoman confirmed the authority would take no further action against Arcadia for missing the earlier deadline.