Edinburgh Town – Part 2

In my previous post, Edinburgh Town Part – 1, I described how I used my existing Medieval wall system (plus a few new elements) and PaperTerrain houses from their Village and Town packs to create a model of Edinburgh as it was in 1745.

In this post I am going describe a number of additional model buildings which I have made to represent historical Edinburgh buildings.

The first of these is a simple conversion of a PaperTerrain village house into the famous “World’s End” pub, which was the last building before the Netherbow Port, hence its name which implies that there was nothing worth visiting outside Edinburgh old town. The pub is still there but the Netherbow Port gate was demolished in 1764. I think this “street view” is quite effective.

My model doesn’t look a lot like the pub, I just printed out the modern pub signs and added them to the building.

My next building was the notorious Tolbooth prison. Here is a print of it. The platform to the left of the picture was added for public executions in 1785, so I did not model it.

My model is completely “scratch built”, but using the techniques which I had learned from making PaperTerrain houses. It does have a ruined interior, although it was not damaged during the ’45, but demolished in 1817. It actually was in the middle of the street, but I have shown it to the northern side here, positioned between two PaperTerrain Town houses.

My next model was again completely “scratch built” and was of the Weigh House. This was a small building used to weigh butter and cheese. Here is an old print of it.

Here is my Weigh House model. It also has a ruined version inside it, which is necessary since it was the closest building to the castle, was garrisoned by the Jacobite Cameron Regiment, but suffered heavy damage from the castle’s artillery.

My next building was St Giles Cathedral. Here is an old print of it looking from west to east. You can see the front entrance, large stained glass windows and unusual Crown Steeple.

Here is a similar print of the view looking from east to west.

I decided that the most appropriate building to base this on was the Usborne model cathedral. This is a companion to their Medieval Castle in the same OO/HO scale. It is out of print, but I managed to find one on eBay and after a short bidding war secured it at about half the normal price.

Although the original Usborne model was OO/HO it still looked disproportionately large compared to the overall footprint of my model town so I made a scaled down version at 75% of original. I also modified it to leave off all of the ancillary buildings, reduced the length of the nave and reduced the footprint of the pair of towers on front of the cathedral. Next, I added large stained glass windows to the front and rear, by copying and pasting images of some of the actual St Giles windows. Finally, I scratch built a model of the unusual Crown Steeple, by copying and pasting elements from the main door architrave. The real St Giles Cathedral has double aisles either side of the nave, but my model has just single aisles, the same as the Usborne model.

Here is a view of the rear of the cathedral.

I made the main tower with a flat roof, into which my model of the St Giles Crown Steeple fits, on its own base. I could then use this same cathedral in other settings.

The original Usborne model tower had a small pitched roof, rather than a steeple, so I modelled this as an alternative. It has its own base and can just be lifted off the top of the tower.

I also made a more conventional spire, which I could use to represent other cathedrals.

My model of St Giles Cathedral, sits over a ruined version. In fact there was no damage to St Giles during the ’45, but I could use this ruined version to represent Dunkeld Cathedral. Dunkeld is south of Blair Atholl castle and, following the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, Dunkeld was the scene of a ferocious battle between the Jacobites and the British 26th Foot (Cameronians). The small town of Dunkeld was the centre of Celtic Scottish Christianity and had a Cathedral founded by St Columba during the 9th Century. During the 1689 battle many buildings in the town caught fire and the cathedral was left in ruins. It still was in 1745, when the Hessians, who were occupying that area, briefly skirmished with the Jacobites, who were besieging Blair Castle. Today, one end of the Cathedral has been reroofed to serve as a parish church, but most of the building is still ruins.

The next building I decided to model was Heriot’s Hospital (actually always a school, but that name was originally used for all charitable institutions). it was built in 1628 to provide education to orphans, and although it is not exclusively so today, still has a charitable purpose. My father-in-law went to that school (his mother was widowed early in her life). The building is still pretty much as it always was.

Here is my model of Heriot’s Hospital (or School). I have reduced the scale of some elements, so it was not out of proportion to the rest of my model town.

Here is a view from the inner courtyard of the real building.

Here is the rear of my model, so you can see a simplified version of the cloisters. I normally make all of my models fit over a ruined version, mainly so I can put model figures inside the buildings, but did not do so with this one, since I can fit sufficient figures of troops into the courtyard.

Heriot’s Hospital was just inside the old walls, close to the West Port. To its right you can just see Greyfriar’s Kirk (I have used a small church which I made some time ago to represent this).

My final additional Edinburgh building was the Mercat Cross. Most of the 126 in Scottish villages and towns are of the simple construction which I made a model of earlier (Mercat Cross). There are however five crosses (Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and Prestonpans) which have a more elaborate drum shaped under-structure.

The modern Edinburgh Mercat Cross was built in 1866, but constructed from some elements of the original one demolished in 1756, and using that same design.

Here is my Edinburgh Mercat Cross model. The coloured badges on the modern under-structure wall were of 19th Century design. Five of the original simple stone medallions were acquired by Sir Walter Scott and installed in his garden at Abbotsford. The medallions on my model are based on these.

I have a heavy washer in the base to give the model weight.

My “unicorn” is converted from an Airfix Farm Set sheepdog. I have painted the unicorn and shield, as they are now and I suspect always would have been in an important city like Edinburgh. I have not added the Saltire flag, since I was not sure whether that was original or a 19th Century addition.

Here is a view of the complete town looking from west to east. The castle will eventually go just below the bottom left corner of this photo.

Here is a view looking from south to north.

And finally, the view from east to west. The castle will go at the top right.

My next project is to make a model of Edinburgh Castle.

12 thoughts on “Edinburgh Town – Part 2

  1. Paul Liddle July 31, 2021 / 10:01 am

    Very impressive Rod, your conversions are great, especially the unicorn.


  2. mosstrooper7 July 31, 2021 / 10:20 am

    Whow ! you have been busy ! , what a great collection of buildings – very atmospheric .


  3. Pete S/ SP July 31, 2021 / 8:56 pm

    That looks fantastic all put together like that.




  4. Ian Dury August 2, 2021 / 11:05 am

    That is absolutely superb!


  5. James Fisher August 7, 2021 / 1:59 am

    Magnificent buildings and such a fine representation of the walled town. Brilliantly done.
    Regards, James


  6. Keith October 24, 2021 / 7:47 pm

    This all looks fantastic – I like part 1 as well – as you say, the three story gable ended tenements look just like 16/17th century Edinburgh


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