The foundation stone was laid on 15th August 1840 to commemorate Sir Walter Scott, the famous Edinburgh author of historical novels. After his death in 1832 it was agreed that a monument should be built in his honour and so a competition was held to find a design. The winner was a George Kemp but, unfortunately, he never saw his design completed as he fell into the Union Canal and drowned. His son added the last stone to the building in late 1844 and it officially opened on 15th August 1846. August 15th being the birth date of Sir Walter Scott.
The monument is 200ft tall and there are 287 steps on four levels. There are statues of 64 characters from his novels and also a museum on the first level. The statue of Sir Walter at the base was sculpted by Sir John Steell also the winner of a competition.