Visitors arriving at The National Wallace Monument on Friday 24th June 2011 were able to join in the festivities which marked the 150th Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone, an event which had taken place on that same date in 1861, 150 years ago.
Stirling’s Provost, Councillor Fergus Wood, was waiting to meet the first visitors, and to present them with a souvenir medal, replicating the one which was issued on the occasion of the ceremony in 1861. First in line was Andrew Ballantyne, from Ayrshire, who had been waiting at the Monument since 1.00am to make sure he received one of the special medals. No doubt Andrew also appreciated the hot coffee which was provided!
As he welcomed the first visitors, Councillor Wood remarked that the Monument -
“is one of the landmarks which gives the City of Stirling its special identity, and this day is also a landmark, an opportunity to recall the achievements of those who campaigned for the Monument to be built and who raised funds from donors across the whole of Europe, and also the Victorian craftsmen who built this masterpiece to salute the memory of the martyr and patriot Sir William Wallace”.
The link with the ceremonial laying of the Monument’s Foundation Stone 150 years ago was marked as the Provost used a replica of William Wallace’s legendary battlesword to cut the Monument’s birthday cake at 11.00am, the precise time at which the formal proceedings had commenced in Broad Street in Stirling on 24th June 1861.
Throughout the day visitors were able to hear presentations from costumed actors who relayed the stories of Wallace’s exploits on the battlefield, and who told of how J. T. Rochead, the eminent Victorian architect, was inspired to create the design for the Monument on The Abbey Craig.
Every visitor also received an inscribed certificate as a special souvenir, and activities and attractions included a Victorian street organ, and a caricaturist, whilst Legends Coffee House was busy serving slices of the Monument’s birthday cake to everyone!
The Monument will be marking the anniversary year with a programme of special events, running up until November 2011 - for further information CLICK HERE.
To view a selection of images from the day, please click on any thumbnail below.