In 1858 a small dog appeared in the graveyard of Greyfriars Kirk. Although dogs were not permitted in the cemetery, the churchâ€™s gardener James Brown allowed the terrier to sleep in the graveyard as he appeared to have no owner. As we now know, the little terrier, named Bobby, was guarding the grave of his master John Gray, and did so for 14 years, allegedly leaving it at one o’clock each day to find food.
As 2008 marked the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the world famous dog, the One oâ€™ Clock Gun and Time Ball Association decided to mark the event by putting on a Greyfriars Bobby exhibition at the Central Libraryâ€™s Edinburgh Room, George IV Bridge.
The exhibition, opened by Sarah Boyack MSP, told how Bobby became friendly with an army surveyor living at 28 Candlemaker Row near the church. Although Bobby refused to enter Colour Sergeant Scottâ€™s flat, the terrierÂ would accompany him along George IV Bridge when the Royal Engineer went to work. Colour Sergeant Scott fed Bobby, keeping the terrier alive through the winter.
The exhibition is now travelling around the Lothians and has been at North Berwick, Whitburn, Linlithgow and Prestonpans Libraries.
To advertise the exhibition, Brian McKenzie, the Chairman of the Association plays the part of Colour Sergeant Scott, while the Association’s mascot Blue takes the part of the Skye terrier.Â Although Blue is a Scots Yorkie, he looks exactly like the legendary dog sitting on the drinking fountain. Not only is Blue the same size as Bobby, he also has a Victorian handlebar moustache.
In real life, Blue is looked after by Kit the wife of the associationâ€™s treasurer John Lovie.
When Blue takes a nap, he lies on his back with his legs in the air. Spotting that his back leg was giving him trouble, John and Kit took Blue to veterinary John Fergusonâ€™s surgery at St. Monans, Fife to be examined. The x-rays showed that one of the ligaments had snapped in Blueâ€™s back leg. A metal plate was inserted and heâ€™s now as fit as a fiddle.
The Association holds an annual ceremony on January 14th to mark the date of Bobbyâ€™s death. Kitted out as Colour Sergeant Scott, Brian says a few words about the dogâ€™s life. As soon as he hears the One oâ€™ Clock Gun firing from the Castle, Blue lays a wreath at Bobbyâ€™s memorial stone while the Associationâ€™s piper, Pipe Major Anderson plays a lament.