About

Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar, off the coast of Southern Spain, in 1805, while fighting the combined French and Spanish navies.  Edinburgh citizens met to plan building a monument just one month after the battle, before Nelson’s body had even got back to Britain. The foundation stone for the monument was laid in 1807 though the building was not completed until 1815. The architect was Robert Burn.

The time ball was added to the monument in 1852 to help sailors who had to know the exact time when working out longitude. Ships’ captains could set their chronometers accurately from the deck of their ships on the river when the ball was dropped at one o’clock. However on foggy days they couldn’t see the signal, so in 1861 the one o’ clock gun was introduced.

At one o’clock, be sure to look out for the ball as it  is still dropped daily (except Sunday). Inside the monument you can read a copy of his last letter to the great love of his life, Emma, Lady Hamilton, see a model of his flagship, Victory, and find out what happened in the battle.



More on the history of the monument