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The Governors House

The Governor's House is a building situated on the southernmost spur of the Calton Hill, beside the south-east corner of Old Calton Burial Ground, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It looks out over Waverley Station, the Canongate and Holyrood Park to the south. The building from 1815-17 is all that remains of the Calton Gaol, once the largest prison in Scotland, completed in 1817. It was designed by Archibald Elliot (1761-1823) who was also responsible for the nearby Waterloo Place and Regent Arch. The House contained the Committee Room used by the Commissioners who governed the prison.

Its castellated and turreted form is similar to James Craig's Old Observatory House on the Calton Hill, but its design was more likely influenced by Robert Adam's older 'Bridewell' of 1791, which stood alongside the newer prison. The Gaol closed in 1927 and, except for the Governor's House, was demolished in the 1937 to make way for St Andrew's House. Many say that the house is still haunted by the ghosts of former prisoners, whilst some contemporary critics refused to enter the Gothic building in the years following its construction. Until recently the building housed the Scottish Government's multimedia team and for a time was considered as a possible official home for Scotland's First Minister, replacing the National Trust for Scotland owned Bute House.

Elsewhere on Calton Hill is the National Monument of Scotland (never completed), the old Calton Hill Observatory, Nelson’s Monument, a 108-ft tower in the shape of an upturned telescope, built in 1816 to celebrate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and a memorial to the Scottish-American soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, complete with a statue of Abraham Lincoln. The obelisk seen in the picture above is Hamilton's Obelisk to Political Martyrs.


Ref: DP371

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The Governors House

Edinburgh.

Scotland.

United Kingdom

Website