Jacob’s Ladder: Everything you need to know about Edinburgh’s newly-refurbished ‘stairway to heaven’

Jacob's Ladder has reopened after a refurbishment by Edinburgh World Heritage. Picture: Tom Duffin
Jacob's Ladder has reopened after a refurbishment by Edinburgh World Heritage. Picture: Tom Duffin
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THE historic Jacob’s Ladder stairway linking Calton Road with Regent Road on the city’s Calton Hill has reopened after a £150,000 refurbishment. Here’s everything you need to know about Edinburgh’s own ‘stairway to heaven’.

The short cut between the city’s Old and New Towns was almost abandoned in modern times due to its derelict and unsafe condition, but its future now looks secure thanks to a £150,000 makeover courtesy of Edinburgh World Heritage.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s Jacob’s Ladder to be reborn after £150,000 makeover

When was it created?

Jacob’s Ladder first appears on maps from 1784 onwards, but is thought to have been used long before that.

Why was it named Jacob’s Ladder?

The staircase was named after Jacob’s dream sequence in the Bible. There are several examples around Scotland which have also used the Jacob’s Ladder name for popular walking routes.

What was it first used for?

As well as serving as a handy shortcut, the route was used for burial processions in the days before Regent Bridge connected the early 18th century Calton Burial Ground with the city centre.

How many steps does it have?

The staircase is comprised of 140 stone steps carved into the volcanic rock.

Why did it need refurbished?

The neglected and unlit Jacob’s Ladder was in a dilapidated state, overgrown with vegetation, covered in graffiti and had developed a reputation as being a place to avoid - especially late at night.

So, what improvements can we expect?

Specialist stone masons hired by Edinburgh World Heritage have repaired the historic stonework and cleaned it using environmentally-friendly chemicals. The landmark has also been lit up for the first time in its history, making it a safe passage for Edinburgh’s citizens to use during day or night for many years to come.

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