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==== Foot of the Mound ====
 
==== Foot of the Mound ====
  
Descent of the Playfair Steps gives access to two very important and recently cleaned buildings at the foot of the Mound. Both the more austere National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy to the north were designed by the architect William Playfair.
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Descent of the Playfair Steps gives access to two very important and recently cleaned buildings at the foot of the Mound. Both the more austere National Gallery <and the Royal Scottish Academy to the north were designed by the architect William Playfair.
  
The National Gallery (begun in 1850) is built of Binny Sandstone brought the 20 km to Edinburgh by the Union Canal (opened 1822) which passed only 3 km from the main quarry near Uphall. Binny stone was fairly easy to work when fresh from the quarry but soon hardened on exposure to the air. It was said that a stone-worker could chisel 15 linear feet of Binny stone in the time it took him to dress 6 feet of Craigleith stone. Iron content produced the orange colour of Binny stone while bitumen gave it a freckled appearance and was believed to increase its durability. Ripple-marking and cross-bedding can be seen in the large polished ashlar blocks.
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The National Gallery (begun in 1850) is built of Binny Sandstone brought the 20 km to Edinburgh by the Union Canal (opened 1822) which passed only 3 km from the main quarry near Uphall. Binny stone was fairly easy to work when fresh from the quarry but soon hardened on exposure to the air. It was s<lid th<that a stone-worker could chisel 15 linear feet of Binny stone in the time it took him to dress 6 feet of Craigleith stone. Iron content produced the orange colour of Binny stone while bitumen gave it a freckled appearance and was believed to increase its durability. Ripple-marking and cross-bedding can be seen in the large polished ashlar blocks.
  
 
The Royal Scottish Academy was built as the Royal Institution in two stages. The original building (1822-6) is a mixture of polished Craigleith stone and Cullalo sandstone from Fife. The Board of Trustees for Manufacturers and Fisheries who held the feu accepted the lowest of five estimates which depended on the use of the softer, cheaper Cullalo stone, but harder, more expensive Craigleith stone had to be used when the Fife Quarry was unable to produce enough good quality stone. In extending the building(1831-6) Playfair doubled the columns in each colonnade, elaborated the porticos at north and south ends and added a second row of columns and decorative detail to the Princes Street end pediment. This newer work, which stands out in the cleaned building, probably used Binny stone. The eight sphinxes carved by Sir John Steell and the statue of Queen Victoria seated in the robes of Britannia are known to be in this stone. Twice in its 150 years history the Royal Scottish Academy building has suffered failure of the wooden piles used as foundations on the 'mound' of earth. First in 1898 the north-west corner was affected. and in 1909 the north-cast corner, leaving the edge of the roof on the west side looking uneven.
 
The Royal Scottish Academy was built as the Royal Institution in two stages. The original building (1822-6) is a mixture of polished Craigleith stone and Cullalo sandstone from Fife. The Board of Trustees for Manufacturers and Fisheries who held the feu accepted the lowest of five estimates which depended on the use of the softer, cheaper Cullalo stone, but harder, more expensive Craigleith stone had to be used when the Fife Quarry was unable to produce enough good quality stone. In extending the building(1831-6) Playfair doubled the columns in each colonnade, elaborated the porticos at north and south ends and added a second row of columns and decorative detail to the Princes Street end pediment. This newer work, which stands out in the cleaned building, probably used Binny stone. The eight sphinxes carved by Sir John Steell and the statue of Queen Victoria seated in the robes of Britannia are known to be in this stone. Twice in its 150 years history the Royal Scottish Academy building has suffered failure of the wooden piles used as foundations on the 'mound' of earth. First in 1898 the north-west corner was affected. and in 1909 the north-cast corner, leaving the edge of the roof on the west side looking uneven.

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