There is some confusion over the exact date of the inauguration
ceremony, most accounts give it as the 17th or 18th of August 1846,
but contemporary newspapers state that it was the 15th (Scott's
image on the left shows the massed crowds gathered on the Mound,
near the Playfair Steps. The depiction of the Monument is rather
sketchy, but overall it conveys well the thousands of people attending.
People came from all over, the steamer ‘Britannia’ brought
300, 400 people came from Dundee the evening before, other ferries
arrived in the morning from Fife, and a train came from Burns country
with hundreds aboard.
The procession comprised the Monument Committees, the Town Council
of Edinburgh, the Magistrates of Edinburgh, Canongate, Leith and
Portsburgh, various Masonic Lodges and Officials, who all assembled
in the Royal High School. It was described in The Scotsman newspaper
as “a moving stream of umbrellas, with long lines of stationary
umbrellas for its banks”, although there is not an umbrella
to be seen in this image.
was preceded by mounted military band, and a detachment of Dragoons.
There was an opening address by Lord Glenlyon, Grand Master of Scotland
and a reply by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Right Honourable
Adam Black - whose statue is 100 yards to the west of the monument.
The detail on the right is a taken from the same image. It shows
more clearly the people in the crowd, the men in their top hats
and tails, the women in long dresses with bustles and shawls, their
hair tied up beneath fancy hats.
(The image is part of the City of Edinburgh Council Central Library
service, Edinburgh Room collection. Bequeathed by Mr Kenneth Sanderson,
W.S., Chairman of the Libraries Committee 1929-1943.)
Scott Monument has continued to attract crowds ever since. This
photograph (by F.C.Inglis) shows a group of tourists from Grimsby
on a charabanc trip to the Scott Monument in the 1930s. They presumably
travelled by train to Edinburgh and were doing a city tour by charabanc.