Flags to be raised on Trafalgar Day at city's Nelson Monument

The Nelson Monument on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill will be colourfully commemorated this weekend for Trafalgar Day (Saturday 21 October).

Nelson flags
The Nelson Monument on Trafalgar Day 2014

Over 200 years since the telescope-shaped structure rose into the Edinburgh skyline, the famous memorial will be decorated with naval flags in tribute to those who lost their lives at the Battle of Trafalgar, including Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson himself, on 21 October 1805.

Ballie Norman Work will lay a wreath inside the Monument on behalf of the Lord Provost and citizens of Edinburgh. He said: “The iconic monument was built in memory of Lord Nelson and all Scots who died in the Battle of Trafalgar, and a service is held every year to remember their courage and sacrifice. This is a rare opportunity to see colourful flags draped around the monument and to share in the city’s history at one of the Capital’s greatest landmarks.”

Captain Chris Smith, the Naval Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “I am delighted to be able to represent the Royal Navy in Edinburgh for Trafalgar Day. The battle itself was a very important part of our history, as much so as Waterloo. Nelson himself died at the battle but was, rightly, revered as a national hero. It is fitting that, more than two centuries later, we still pay tribute to this great man and the city’s memorial still stands strong.”

Lord Nelson coined the phrase ‘Band of Brothers’ to describe the Captains under his command, and of the 27 Captains in Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar, five were Scots and a third of the 18,000 crewmen involved were from Scottish towns and fishing villages.

Scotland’s industry also contributed to the event, by producing and supplying sails from the jute mills of Dundee, iron for the cannons from the Carron Works in Falkirk, charcoal from the forests of Argyll which was used to fire those cannons and timber products from Scotland’s woods which were used to construct  Nelson’s fleet of Naval ships.

The wreath laying inside the Monument is a private event, and so members of the public will be unable to visit during the service. The Nelson Monument will re-open as a visitor attraction at 2:20pm.

Did you know

The structure features 143 steps up to the viewing platform where you can experience fantastic views above Calton Hill, right across the city and over to Fife.

Visit the Monument’s museum where you can read a copy of Lord Nelson’s last letter to the great love of his life, Lady Hamilton, see a model of his flagship, Victory, and find out what happened in the Battle of Trafalgar.

At one o’clock, be sure to look out for the Monument’s time ball, which is still dropped daily. The time ball was added to the monument in 1852 to help sailors tell the time, but on foggy days they couldn’t see the signal. That is why, in 1861, the one o’ clock gun was introduced at Edinburgh Castle, which also still sounds today.

Admission to the Nelson Monument is £5. 

It is one of many monuments and museums in the care of the City of Edinburgh Council. Find out more about Museums & Galleries Edinburgh at: http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/Nelson-Monument

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