Edinburgh's Nelson Monument Needs Your Vote!

Edinburgh's historic Nelson Monument on Calton Hill is in the running for a prestigious award – and we need your votes!

The recent Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project to restore the Nelson Monument and its Time Ball is the only Edinburgh contender to have reached the semi-finals of the National Lottery Award.

The news comes just months after the Nelson Monument scooped a four star rating from VisitScotland. (see previous release here)

Last summer the monument was reopened to the public following painstaking restoration work lead by the Council, Edinburgh World Heritage and partners as part of the Twelve Monuments Restoration Project.

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite lottery funded projects.

In October 2008 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £50,000 towards the repair of our much-loved Calton Hill visitor attraction, the Nelson Monument and its Time Ball. As well as bringing a cherished city landmark back to working order, this funding also enabled a new exhibition to be installed and helped fund storytelling sessions for schools and a public event as part of Doors Open Day in 2009.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Convenor for Culture & Leisure, urged people to cast their vote in favour of the Nelson Monument.

She said: “It's a huge honour for the Nelson Monument and Time Ball to be the only Edinburgh contender in the running for a National Lottery Award, especially so soon after it received a well-deserved four star rating from VisitScotland. Winning the award would be a wonderful tribute to the dedication, hard work and enthusiasm of everyone involved in the Twelve Monuments Restoration Project as well, so please take the time to cast your vote today and help us win this award for Edinburgh!”

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “We're delighted The Nelson Monument and Time Ball Project has reached the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards. Lottery funding has been crucial in the restoration of this Edinburgh landmark and has allowed us to also add an exhibition that tells the bigger story behind the monument.  We're really hoping the public gets behind us and votes for us in The National Lottery Awards as it would be great to get national recognition for this important piece of living history.”

The Nelson Monument and Time Ball restoration is now one of nine HLF projects shortlisted for the Best Heritage Project Award. The deadline for voting is 12 noon on Friday 18 June 2010, and the final winner will be announced later this summer. 

Reasons to Vote Nelson? The project:

- Restored one of the most important landmarks in Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.
- Put back into working order one of the last remaining Time Balls in the UK.
- Opened more rooms at the monument for visitors with a new exhibition to help explain its importance.
- Brought the history of the monument alive in a new way, with storytelling for children, a Doors Open day event attended by over 1,300 people, and a leaflet translated into six different languages.
- transformed the Nelson Monument's visitor appeal making it a four star rated visitor attraction.

To find out how to vote, visit http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards/.

For more information, please contact Katie Emslie, Media Officer, The City of Edinburgh Council, on 0131 529 2427 or by email.

Notes to Editors

1. Nelson Monument background:
The Nelson Monument has stood proud on Calton Hill for nearly 200 years and has always been important as a signalling tower. It also commands stunning panoramic views of the city. The monument's ground floor, which was opened up and improved during the Twelve Monuments Restoration was originally the accommodation for the custodian – at one time, they even had the idea that some wounded sailors might live there, though there is no evidence they ever did. An early custodian sold teas, soups and jellies, and even served Nelson dinners on Trafalgar Day, despite continual problems with the water supply on the very top of the hill. Until about ten years ago, it remained the family home of the custodian.

2. Restored last year thanks to the Twelve Monuments Restoration Project, the time ball at the top of the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill dates back to 1852. Its purpose was to enable ship's captains to set their chronometers accurately by observing the dropping of the ball at one o'clock Greenwich Mean Time each day. Nine years later, the one o'clock gun at Edinburgh Castle was added, to give an audible signal. The time ball itself is a timber structure sheathed in zinc, which rises and falls around a central post, hand-operated by an employee of Ritchie & Son Clockmakers. The time ball has been restored with new timber and zinc parts. The operating mechanism for time ball has also been restored. A new gear wheel has been cast and installed to replace the original. All the repairs have been completed using traditional methods and removing the minimum necessary amount of damaged material.

3. The Twelve Monuments Restoration Project is supported by:

Heritage Lottery Fund, J.Paul Getty Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Marquess of Bute, Babcock Marine, the Pilgrim Trust, The Binks Trust and others.

4. Nelson Monument – Visitor information:

Thousands of visitors each year experience the magnificent views of Edinburgh and the surrounding areas from the 360° viewing platform at the top of the Nelson Monument. The panoramic view is framed by Fife to the North, the Forth estuary to the East, the Moorfoot Hills to the South, and the Forth Rail and Road bridges to the West.

Opening Times

April to September: Monday 1pm – 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 6pm

October to March: Monday to Saturday 10am – 3pm

Admission £3

Contact: Katie Emslie
Phone: 0131 529 2427
Email: katie.emslie@edinburgh.gov.uk
Website: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk