David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart Statue – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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Edinburgh, Scotland

David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart Statue

These characters from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel stand in an unlikely place. 

The author Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. He based many of the characters and circumstances in his 1886 adventurous tale Kidnapped on actual people and places.

Two such individuals were David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart. At the conclusion of the story, the two characters bid farewell to one another at a spot referred to as “Rest and Be Thankful” on nearby Corstorphine Hill. This might explain their unusual placement on a busy road on the outskirts of Edinburgh’s city center. 

The statue was designed by Scottish artist Sandy Stoddart. It was unveiled by Sir Sean Connery, another of the city’s legendary citizens, in 2004. The grounds adjacent to the monument once boasted the Balfour Stewart House, the headquarters of a brewing company that was demolished in 2008.

The statue depicts the two characters standing side by side facing south. Though the sculpture is 15 feet tall, the Stewart figure should be depicted a few inches taller than his younger counterpart.

An interesting piece of information, it’s believed that Stevenson didn’t want statues of himself to be erected after his death. In 2013, a statue of the author was erected in the adjacent community of Colinton Parish Church, a location that was the inspiration for his collection entitled A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Know Before You Go

The statue is just adjacent to the "Western Corner" bus stop near the junction of Ellersly Road and Western Terrace on the A8. There are several bus lines that pass by, including the 300 Airport Bus. It is visible at all times, but because of the traffic, it is advisable to park on Ellersly Road and walk around the corner.

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