Edinburgh University


Engraving from Modern Athens - published 1829

Edinburgh University - South Bridge Street

Engraving from 'Modern Athens'  -  hand-coloured  -  Edinburgh University

Drawn by Thomas H Shepherd

Engraved by WH Lizars

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Ian Smith



Edinburgh University

Edinburgh University is the large building occupying most of the engraving.  At the far right of the engraving is the Tron kirk (or church), at the junction of the North and South Bridges and the Royal Mile.

Tron kirk

    Engraving in 'Modern Athens'  -  The Tron Kirk in the Royal Mile

Design and Construction

The prominent building in this engraving is the Old College of Edinburgh University on South Bridge.

It was built in stages:

- Construction of the original building, the outside of the quadrangle by Robert Adam began 1789.

- The inside of the quadrangle, by William Playfair, was built 1819-27.

The Buildings of Scotland:   Publ.  National Trust for Scotland:   ISBN 0-14-071068-X

Dome and 'Golden Boy' Statue

-  The dome by Rowan Anderson was not added until 1887

 Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  December 2002  -  Fire in the Old Town of Edinburgh  -  Gilded Balloon in the Cowgate

-  A gilded sculpture on top of the dome is known as The Golden Boy.

- The statue is reported* to be of an athlete carrying the torch of learning.  The statue is the work of John Hutchison.  It is reported to have been modelled on the Edinburgh athlete, Anthony Hall.

Chamber's Monuments and Statues of Edinburgh  [Michael Turnbill]   ISBN 0-550-20050-9.

'The Golden Boy'


I now have more information on The Golden Boy statue on the dome of the Edinburgh University building in the Old Quadrangle. 

Linda Moederzoom, of Bridgham, Norfolk has been working on her family history for about 20 years and has given me some details of Anthony Hall and his family:

Anthony Hall

-   Linda's great great uncle was Anthony Hall.  He was an athlete in the 1860s / 1870s.

-   In later life, he was an artists' model.

-   He modelled for Edinburgh University's 'Golden Boy' statue

-   He also modelled for the Burns statue in Leith.

C. M. Campbell wrote a book based on Anthony Hall published 1897 called Dielie Jock.  The book starts off with Anthony in an artist's studio in Edinburgh.

-  Anthony is buried in an unmarked grave in Piershill Cemetery.

Peter Hall

- Linda's describes her great grandfather, Peter Hall, brother of Anthony (Golden Boy) as being a real edinburgh character.  Born in Edinburgh in 1874, he became a noted athlete, winning many medals for both Scotland and England.

-  Peter was also a reporter / editor / journalist.  He edited The Shadow, a humorous weekly Edinburgh magazine in 1874 and worked for The Hawick Advertiser and The Scotsman.

-  He had his own florist shop on the corner of St. John Street and 180 Canongate for 25 years.  He retired about 1903 and died in 1928.  Linda says that a photograph of this shop appears in a book, but she has not been able to find a copy of the book.


Edinburgh University is on the west side of North Bridge, almost opposite Surgeon's Hall.

Surgeon's Hall

   Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Surgeon's Hall

The large view above looks to the north, down South Bridge which leads into North Bridge.

North Bridge

  Engraving in 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  North Bridge and Calton Hill  

and to East End of Princes Street.

 Princes Street

   Princes Street  -  1859  -  GW Wilson t


Engravings from Modern Athens  -  Published 1829

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