THE famous Forsyth Sphere has been missing from the roof of Topshop on Princes Street for more than four years – after it was removed without permission in 2012.
But in the early hours of June 27, the three-tonne metal globe will be returned to its rightful place on the Capital’s skyline – fully revamped and looking better than ever.
And now photos showing the long-awaited restoration of the iconic Edinburgh landmark have been unveiled for the first time.
We revealed earlier this year that retail magnate Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, was ordered to reinstate the statue and initially given a deadline of March.
When it failed to meet this, the company pleaded with city chiefs not to report the breach to the procurator fiscal or issue any fine – and insisted it was “fully committed” to the sphere’s return.
David McLean, of the Lost Edinburgh website, has long been campaigning for the Forsyth Sphere to be reinstated. He gained access to the ongoing restoration work and said it was “superb” to see it up close.
It’ll look absolutely brilliant when it’s complete and I can’t commend the team highly enough for their efforts.David McLean
He added: “I’ve been campaigning to get this back on Princes Street since 2012 and to see it there at the latter stages of restoration with the undercoat dripping on to the pallet was a hugely cathartic experience.
“The team of specialists involved in the restoration have done a tremendous job and the level of commitment and passion they exhibited when discussing the task at hand was massively encouraging.
“The whole structure has undergone an extensive repair and now the plan is to paint the sphere, cherubs and garlands to its original gold hue with the zodiac symbols around the central band finished in bronze.
“It’ll look absolutely brilliant when it’s complete and I can’t commend the team highly enough for their efforts.”
He added: “Regrettably I’ll be missing the actual crane lift on June 26 due to holidays, but I’ll be back just in time to see the last of the scaffolding come down.
“With a bit of luck we’ll get a nice, sunny July to enjoy the full gleam of the restored sphere.
“Thank you to all the followers of the Lost Edinburgh and Glasgow [Facebook] pages whose support of last year’s petition was instrumental in saving this historic city icon from rusting away indefinitely in a Lochgelly steelyard.
“This is very much a collective victory and I’m immensely proud to have been a part of it.”
Restoration work on the sphere is being carried out by Edinburgh fine art foundry Powderhall Bronze, with construction company Sharkey working on the supporting turret.
A key part of the city’s heritage, the A-listed Forsyth Building originally housed a department store run by RW Forsyth.
These days, Topshop and Topman are based on its lower floors, with the upper levels leased to Travelodge.
A spokeswoman for Topshop declined to comment.