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Introduction | Restoration | Cleaning trials | Under the microscope | Quarry | Stone carving


Although the monument was very well constructed, inevitably repairs have had to be made. In the 1950s loose and dangerous pinnacles were repaired and a lightning conductor installed. Storms created further damage in 1968 and by 1975 the iron fixings to the statues had rusted and weakened. There was also debate about cleaning years of accumulated soot from the structure, but it was suggested this would only reveal the various types of stone, other than Binny stone that had been used for repairs.

A Misty Day in Edinburgh.This photograph (part of the City of Edinbugh Council Central Library service, Edinburgh Room collection) is entitled ‘Misty Day’ was taken from Market Street in 1956 by photographer Peter Frew, as part of a photographic competition. It shows the Scott Monument on a foggy day, shrouded in smoke from the nearby railway. ‘Auld Reekie’ is an old name for Edinburgh meaning ‘old smokey’. This would have been a fairly typical smoke filled scene in central Edinburgh, and contributed to the blackening of the stonework of the monument and many city centre buildings.

In the early 1990s it was proposed that the stone should be cleaned and a thorough assessment of the structure be made.

Two people, high on a crane, taking a photogrammetric survey of the Monument, with the castle in the background.In the early 1990s, the City of Edinburgh procured a complete photogrammetric survey of the entire Monument.

Photogrammetry is the method of preparing accurate measurements from photography, and is regularly used to survey historic buildings. Photographs are taken in stereopairs, then, using special equipment, measured survey drawings can be prepared from this stereo photography.

The process produces very accurate survey drawings, in which every single architectural detail and each block of stone are drawn out, as shown on the images below. The stereo photography is also an invaluable archival record in its own right. The systematic coverage ensures that every face of the Monument is photographed, and by viewing the images in stereo, the view of the detail is much enhanced.

Below you can see an example of this process. The two images on the right are the detailed drawings developed using the photographs on the left.

Black and white photograph of the mid section of the Scott Monument. Black and white photograph of the base of the Monument. Detailed drawing of a section of the Monument. Detailed drawing of a section of the base of the Monument, showing measurements.




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