Greyfriar’s Bobby and the One O’Clock Gun

This  charming little book about the famous Skye terrier that frequented Edinburgh and befriended Colour Sargeant Scott is a work of love.

A meticulous researcher, George Robinson provides a series of anecdotes that tell the story of life in Edinburgh during the late 19th century. Through the experiences of the little dog, we learn about the importance of the original time ball and the technical difficulties of replacing it with an audible signal, that became the One O’Clock Gun.

We learn about the protests against animal cruelty when horse-drawn trams were introduced to the city (slightly topical!) and the collapse of a building in the High Street, with the loss of 35 lives.

While some might find the meetings that took place during lunchtimes and the fact that the characters in the booklet speak to Bobby as if he were another human being,  rather contrived,  I’m sure dog-lovers will relate to this phenomenon! The little terrier was certainly a popular figure who knew where to go to get fed.

The characters in these anecdotes are – or were – real people, from Colour Sergeant Scott who befriended Bobby to Ritchie’s the clockmakers, Professor Piazzi Smyth, the astronomer from Calton Observatory, the Traill family, whose restaurant was one of Bobby’s favourites and Baroness Burdett-Coutts  who funded his memorial drinking fountain.

The booklet also contains some quite stunning engravings from the period and the author’s own quirky front cover design. With 72 pages, it’s priced just £5 (or less) from Amazon.

Published by

Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

One thought on “Greyfriar’s Bobby and the One O’Clock Gun”

  1. Dear Suse,

    Thanks for the excellent review. Regarding the characters communicating verbally with the dog, I’m afraid I’m guilty of speaking to the neighbour’s cat when I meet him in the lobby. Bombardier Blue the mascot of the One o’clock Gun & Time Ball Association has a vocabulary of six words. He calls his owner ‘Mama’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *