Edinburgh – The Writer’s Museum
Edinburgh is perhaps the only city in the world which has a huge monument and a museum dedicated to its writers
Home to many famous writers – Robert Burns (1759 – 1996), Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894), and Sir Arthur Conon Doyle to name a few – the city has more than its fair share of literary giants.
The first thing that catches your eye when you approach the city is a Gothic style building looming high in the skyline, no matter in which direction you go. I kept on thinking it was an old chapel. As we got closer and walked passed it, it turned out to be a memorial build to honour city’s favourite son and noted writer Sir Walter Scott.
A plaque there claimed that it was the biggest monument ever erected for a writer anywhere in the world.
If that wasn’t enough to excite me, the next day I found out that Edinburgh also has a Writer’s Museum. Needless to say I wanted to visit it. With some effort my daughter found it in the old town near the Edinburgh castle.
Once a grand mansion near the Royal Mile, the Lady Stair’s House is a multi-story building that is four hundred years old. The story is that in the 19th century when the old buildings were being demolished, a conscientious town planner embarked upon an ambitious renewal program. At that time the Lady Stair’s House was bought by 5th Earl of Rosebery (1895) and went through a lot of renovations. The Earl then gifted the building to the city of Edinburgh for use as museum.
Though not very big, the museum has enough to entice the literary kind. It had three distinct areas, one dedicated to each of the famous writer. Displayed there are some artefacts from writers lives but mainly their stories and excerpts from their writings.
Robert Burns was a poet, a romantic kind, who was famous with ladies. He is regarded a pioneer in romantic movement but later became a great source of inspiration to liberalism and socialism movement. His most famous poem is To A Mouse. In his later life he collected Scotland’s folk songs and wrote a number of them himself which are still sung in pubs around Scotland.
Some of his famous poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include “A Red, Red Rose“, “A Man’s a Man for A’ That“, “To a Louse“, “To a Mouse“, “The Battle of Sherramuir“, “Tam o’ Shanter” and “Ae Fond Kiss“.
Sir Walter Scott was a historic novelist, poet, playwright and an historian. Many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothianand The Bride of Lammermoor.
Arthur Conan Doyle though not born in Edinburgh but was educated in the University of Edinburgh. I spotted a cafe which claimed he used to live close by.
Another notable person who was born in Edinburgh was scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator Alexander Graham Bell who is credited with inventing and patenting the telephone.
Needless to say I had a field day in Edinburgh.