As a result of our place on The City of Edinburgh Council Mechanical & Electrical Frameworks we were awarded the contract for the lighting upgrade to the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. 

The Scott Monument is a Victorian monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott built from Binny sandstone. It was completed in 1844 having taken four years to build.

It is the largest monument to a writer in the world, standing at 200 feet high and has a series of viewing platforms reached by narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. The highest platform is reached by a total of 287 steps. This listed building is located in a very busy area and is one of the main tourist attractions in Edinburgh. 

The existing light fittings were approximately 25 years old and only a few still functioned. They included 45 No 150W tungsten Halogen luminaires on the monument and 4 No 250W tungsten Halogen luminaires at its base.

Kevan Shaw Lighting Design designed the new light display in line with the brief from The City of Edinburgh Council to create a new lighting scheme for the Scott Monument that would re-establish its significance in the city skyline, reflect the gothic quality of the structure highlighting the important features and fitting with the aspirations and objectives of the Council’s sustainable lighting strategy. 

Initially the client hoped to reuse the existing cables however after carrying out a thorough electrical periodic inspection we identified some cables needed replacing as the existing cables were corroded beyond repair. 

The existing lighting was replaced with 35 No white LED luminaires on the monument and 16 at its base.  LED luminaires only consume approximately 20% of the electricity of the Tungsten Halogen equivalent and the LED lamp will last 1000’s of hours longer making it an environmentally and economically better value option for the client. 

The lights are controlled by an astronomical time clock so the scheduled on and off times will change to match the varying day light hours throughout the year. Override switches were also installed in order to functionally test the lights during the day. 

We liaised very closely with the client and design team due to the delicate nature of the works. Great care had to be taken to ensure there was no damage to the monument during the installation process. 

We employed a specialist rope access sub-contractor, Pendrich Height Services, to carry out works in areas that could only be accessed from a rope. During their pre-works inspection Pendrich carried out a thorough visual inspection of the monument in order to establish its structural integrity and ensure our works would not compromise this. They found numerous loose pieces of stone and loose handrails and were instructed to carry out the necessary repair works accordingly. The stone repair works impacted on our programme extending it from four to five weeks. 

Scaffolds, fixed walk ways and safety nets were installed to give our electricians access to the areas required. Land & Building Services carried out the ground works which were required to install the low level lighting bollards and cable ducting. 

The new lighting was switched on, on Tuesday 20 September 2016 (the anniversary of Walter Scott’s death). The new lighting has greatly enhanced the look of the monument and feedback from the general public has been overwhelmingly positive. We are very proud to have been involved in such an iconic project. 

Key Features

  • Iconic listed building almost 200 years old
  • Busy city centre location attracting thousands of tourists every day  
  • Working at height 
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Key Facts

Client: The City of Edinburgh Council
Contract Value: £131k
Principal Contractor: McGill
Consulting Engineer: Kevan Shaw Lighting Design
Project Duration: Five Weeks
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