Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Scotsman Steps Update

Work to conserve the Scotsman Steps is using the best traditional skills and materials.

Jan 20, 2011

The steps were built in 1899 as part of the offices for the Scotsman newspaper, but now they form a useful public access from the Old Town to Waverley Station. A joint project between EWH and the City of Edinburgh Council will now see the steps fully restored, along with a new installation by artist Martin Creed.

Repairs to the interior are nearly finished and new external stonework is now being installed, including many decorative features hand-carved by expert stonemasons working for Forth Stone.

Masons Zenon Przeklasi and Zeigniew Szuszkiewicz have also worked on another EWH project at Shandwick Place, but here the work has presented a bigger challenge, as in places the decoration has been completely eroded. Their artistic interpretation of the vines that once featured above the window arches is work of exceptionally high quality.

The final feature to be completed will be new wrought iron gates at the top and bottom of the steps, to help manage over-night access.

Wrought iron is no longer produced so recycled material will be used, supplied by specialist firm Chris Topp & Co. The material also demands a great level of skill and traditional forge techniques, which will be provided by Ballantine’s foundry.

Wrought iron is distinct from modern materials such as mild steel or pure iron in that it incorporates impurities, mainly strands of glass, in its manufacture. This gives it a great resistance to corrosion, making it easy to maintain by simply painting regularly, and ensures that fine detail in the design is not obscured.

More about wrought iron



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