26th January 1861

Edinburgh Castle gun fired for the first time

The gun at Edinburgh castle is fired at exactly one o’clock, six days a week (excluding Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas day) as a signal for nearby maritime traffic.

Edinburgh already had the Time Ball on Nelson’s Monument, which was installed nine years previously and was dropped at precisely 1pm, allowing ships within view to set their chronometers. However, this was useless in foggy conditions, and an alternative had to be found. That alternative was the gun.

To date, four different guns have been used to sound the time. The first was an 18-pound cannon, which was replaced in 1913, again in 1952, and most recently (at the time of writing) in 2001.



Other events that occured in January

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.