Monthly Archives

November 2017

St Andrew’s Day

By | General


Today is St Andrew’s day, celebrating the life of Scotland’s patron saint and whose cross our national flag bears.  But how much do you know about him?  Here’s some fascinating facts to give you some background:

  • Saint Andrew was born in Bethsaida, in Galilee
  • A humble fisherman, Saint Andrew was the brother of Saint Peter; he became Jesus’ first disciple and was baptised by John the Baptist
  • The St Andrew’s Cross which adorns the Scottish flag is named after the X-shaped cross upon which he was crucified in Patras in Greece.  The shape of the cross was apparently requested by Andrew as he felt unworthy to be crucified on the same upright cross that Jesus’ crucifixion occurred
  • He has been our official patron saint since the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, but was revered as such for at least 300 years before then
  • Saint Andrew is not only our patron saint, but also the patron saint of Romania, Greece, Russia and Barbados as well as Italy’s Amalfi region
  • St Andrews in Fife – which had been known as Kilrymont – became a place of pilgrimage as it was reputed that a kneecap, tooth and finger bone were brought there (there are varying storied about how this came to be)
  • St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh is home to the National Shrine of St Andrew and a piece of Saint Andrew’s shoulder was, in 1879, given by the Archbishop of Amalfi where his bones had been moved after the fall of Constantinople where they had been for hundreds of years
  • The memorial known as The Call 1914 in West Princes Street Gardens came to being thanks to John Gordon Gray, who was the president of the St. Andrew’s Society in 1923 and who put forward the idea of a memorial to celebrate the Scottish and American links through the war
Robert Louis Stevenson memorial in West Princes Street Gardens

Robert Louis Stevenson Day

By | General


Today marks Robert Louis Stevenson’s 167th birthday.  We have showcased the humble memorial to him that lies in West Princes Street Gardens before, and his many stories and poems such as Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde are still read and revered widely today.  But what did the great man think of his place of birth?  In Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, Stevenson describes an Edinburgh as follows:


“Into no other city does the sight of the country enter so far; if you do not meet a butterfly, you shall certainly catch a glimpse of far-away trees upon your walk; and the place is full of theatre tricks in the way of scenery.  You peep under an arch, you descend stairs that look as if they would land you in a cellar, you turn to the back-window of a grimy tenement in a lane:—and behold! you are face-to-face with distant and bright prospects.  You turn a corner, and there is the sun going down into the Highland hills.  You look down an alley, and see ships tacking for the Baltic.”


He captures so eloquently the enduring appeal of Edinburgh; the stunning architecture, the sense of history and mystery; it’s remarkable to think that the very views and flashes of nature and scenery provided by places like Princes Street Gardens remain essentially the same as those that moved him to write these words.  So, if you’re walking through town today, and catch a glimpse of the Gardens, take a moment to think of “A Man of Letters” who shared those same views all those years ago.

Survey results

By | General

We asked Edinburgh’s residents and visitors what they thought of West Princes Street Gardens and the Trust’s plans to revitalise the city’s much-loved Gardens.  We’d like to thank everyone who participated; these are your Gardens and your feedback and opinions are invaluable.  Here’s an infographic showing some of the survey highlights.