Monday, November 15, 2010

Edinburgh's Great Fire

'On the night of Monday, the 15th of November, 1824, around 10 o'clock, the cry of "Fire!" was heard in the High Street, and it spread throughout the city from mouth to mouth; vast crowds came from all quarters rushing to the spot, and columns of smooke and flame were seen issuing from the second floor of a house at the head of the old Assembly Close, then occupied by Kirkwood, a well-known engraver...'

The description above is from http://www.oldandnewedinburgh.co.uk/

The cause of the great fire was a pot of heated linseed oil in engraver James Kirkwood's workshop.  The fire seemed to have been extinguished at one point, but By 9AM on the 16th, the fire renewed in the Tron Church.  According to a report form Coutts & Co., Bankers, 'Sir Walter Scott was one of the crowd watching the Fire Demon at work on the Tron Kirk spire, and when it was wreathed in flames, he ejaculated to Henry Cockburn and others, "Eh, sirs ! mony a weary, weary sermon hae I heard beneath that steeple !' His father had sat, and his young mind had been tortured, there. Luckily the church was saved by the arrival of Deacon Field with a powerful fire-engine, and the inhabitants breathed again. '  By the time the fire was put out, on the 17th, a significant portion of the south side of the High Street had been razed. 

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