Edinburgh World Heritage

5 Charlotte Square - Link Boys

The trumpet shape in the railings was actually used to snuff out torches.

In the days before proper street lighting in Edinburgh, the wealthy would hire a Link Boy carrying a flaming torch to light their way home at night. The Link Boy would want to snuff out the torch at the end of the trip, so providing a snuffer in the railings was a good solution.

Their name comes from the twisted strands of cotton used as a wick in the torches. Link Boys were also known as 'moon cursers' as there was less need of their help on moon lit nights.

As well as helping pedestrians they were useful in guiding sedan chairs and carriages around the city, and sometimes even the city guard or firemen.


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