— #20 The Cut (Craighall Road)
If you’ve been to the city centre you may have noticed a statue of George IV where Hanover Street crosses George Street. He is wearing Highland dress including a minuscule kilt.
The monument was raised after his visit to Edinburgh in August 1822.
This was the first visit of a British monarch to their kingdom of Scotland for 170 years. He was keen to come here because he had read the romantic novels of Walter Scott, who has an even bigger monument in the city centre — The Scott Monument. Scott was the equivalent of J K Rowling at the time, an international best seller.
King George fancied himself resplendent in tartan and as a highland chieftain like the ones in Scott’s stories. Anyway it was good PR in a country which had suffered a major civil war only 50 years earlier.
Scott was given the task of organising the visit. which he set to with enthusiasm and vigour. The City of Edinburgh was in a state of excitement as the King would be coming to the capital by boat. But where would he land? One possibility was the Chain Pier just along the coast from here. (The Chain Pier Bar is the box office of the pier which was busy with ferries up and down and across the River Forth,)
If he did land there, how would he get up to the city? The nearest road was Trinity Road which was a wandering farm road through fields. Next road was Whale Brae — a carriage would have trouble getting up there after going through the smelly fishing village. So it was decided to build a new road with a gradient which would allow carriages to drive up or down.
A road was CUT through the cliff at the west end of the village. However, after all the effort, “the little fat German in his silly short kilt and his pink stockings”… actually landed at Leith!