It’s not one of Edinburgh’s most well known jobs, but in light of the funding cuts – thanks Mr Cameron – Edinburgh Council is dropping the post of Edinburgh Cannonball Collector. You’ve never heard of the job? – and for good reason: we don’t really want tourists to know that at 1 o’clock every day they run the slight risk of injury under fire. The Cannonball Collector’s job is to stand in Princes Street at 1 o’clock every day, and watch to see where the shell from the 1 0’clock gun lands, and gather it up to return it to the castle.
There has been a Cannonball Collector since the days of the visit of George IV in 1822. The Provost decided that the streets should be cleared of the daily debris, and so the post of Cannonball Collector was created.
Now, 189 years later, Edinburgh Council is to call in the Collector, and the task will be passed on to the Council street cleaners.
What does the current post-holder have to say? I don’t know: he – or she – is keeping out of sight.
If you see someone scurrying around Princes Street, or the Gardens, or up Castle Street at 1 o’clock, follow them – it might be our last sighting of the Cannonball Collector.
Or, maybe, this is yet one more casualty of the Great Edinburgh Trams Débâcle?