The National Wallace Monument is one of Scotland’s most recognisable iconic buildings.
The monument in Stirling was opened in 1869 to commemorate the life of the Scottish patriot and martyr Sir William Wallace, and has attracted visitors from near and far ever since.
The National Wallace Monument is managed and operated by Stirling District Tourism Limited. They are busy making plans for a birthday celebration, as 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the distinctive Stirling attraction, which will include an extended programme of special events.
Here’s 10 facts you probably didn’t know about the National Wallace Monument.
1. A suffragette vandalised the case that held the Wallace sword. Ethel Moorhead smashed the case in 1912 to draw attention to the plight of the suffragettes.
2. William Wallace’s sword was stolen – twice! The Wallace Sword was stolen by Scottish Nationalists from Glasgow University in 1936. Later, in 1972 the sword was stolen again. In both cases the sword was returned.
3. The Monument could have been built in Glasgow. Plans to build a monument to William Wallace can be dated back to 1818 when the original idea had been to locate it in Glasgow, however indignant Edinburghers kicked up a fuss! The setting of Stirling, where Wallace won his greatest victory, was eventually agreed upon.
4. 106 designers took part in a competition to design the Monument. The winning architect was John Thomas Rochead. Only two of the original designs have survived.
5. Around 100,000 people showed up to witness the laying of the Monument’s foundation stone in 1861. That’s more than the capacity of Wembley stadium.
6. There is a time capsule buried in the Monument’s foundation stone. Fascinatingly there is a sealed crystal vase in a specially prepared cavity of the foundation stone. It contains a number of items including Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake’, the complete works of Robert Burns and ‘Wallace and his Times’ by James Paterson.
7. The Monument was built for £18,000. Although that might be sound pretty cheap, in today’s money that would be around £1.2m! Interestingly, the Monument was crowdfunded by people from all across the globe.
8. 30,000 tonnes of stone was used in the construction of the Monument. That’s the equivalent of 10,000 elephants.
9. The National Wallace Monument has seen a number of famous faces pass through its doors as well as proposals and weddings take place in the iconic setting. Former Scotland international rugby player Kenny Logan chose to pop the question to his now wife of 17 years, presenter and former Welsh international gymnast Gabby Logan, at the top of the Monument.
10. It’s estimated that there have a total of 4.3 billion steps taken by visitors climbing the 246 steps of the Monument’s famous spiral staircase (equivalent to almost 9 million visitors) in the last 149 years.
As a registered charity, Stirling District Tourism receives no Government funding and is reliant for income from donations and admission fees.
The National Wallace Monument is open each day from 9.30am, until 6pm in July and August.
For more details on the monument, click HERE. www.nationalwallacemonument.com