Ten things you never knew about Edinburgh

Our Town Stories brings Edinburgh’s history to life with maps, photographs and (of course) stories. Here are ten surprising facts about our city taken from the site.

1. Edinburgh is home to the world’s first municipal fire service.

2. 200 000 people travelled on the Union Canal in 1836

3. Agatha Christie got married in Edinburgh

4. The one o’clock Gun is the legacy of a complex time service which entailed a 4,000 foot long cable being hung across the city.

5. The Sea Serpent Rotary Boat, Velocipede Merry-Go-Round, and the Planetarium Swing were among the rides enjoyed by Victorian Edinburgh’s pleasure seekers.

6. The character of Long John Silver was inspired by a patient at the Royal Infirmary.

7. In 1916 a polar bear escaped from his enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, climbing into a paddock with buffaloes and bison. They promptly made an attack and he fled back to his own enclosure.

8. Arthur’s Seat has prompted unusual building schemes including a heather-roofed tea-room.

9. Edinburgh was home to a bagpiping nine-year old suffragette.

10. Charles Darwin was among the Edinburgh University Students taught by a freed slave.

Find out more about the hidden history of our city on Our Town Stories.


2 thoughts on “Ten things you never knew about Edinburgh

  1. The patient who inspired Long John Silver was the poet William Earnest Henley. He wrote ‘Invictus’, the last stanza of which Nelson Mandela wrote in the back of his Bible when imprisoned on Robben Island:
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.


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