Arrive in Edinburgh on any given day and there are particular issues you’ll ensure. One of which is, the time on the turret clock atop The Balmoral Hotel is always wrong. By 3 mins, to be precise. From a file: While the clock tower’s tale is mythical in Edinburgh, it stays a riddle for plenty of first-timers. To the untrained eye, the 58m-high landmark is merely a part of the grand finale when surveyed from Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s go-to city-centre perspective. There it sits to the left of the Dugald Stewart Monument, like an enormous exclamation mark above the glazed roof of Waverley Train Station. Likewise, the sandstone baronial tower seems to be similarly wonderful when eyed from the commanding northern ramparts of Edinburgh Castle whilst peering out over the battlements. It is positioned on the metropolis’s very centre of gravity, between the Old Town and the New Town, on the confluence of all trade and lifestyles. Except, after all, that the dial’s large hand and little hand are out of sync with Greenwich Mean Time.
This daring irregularity is, if truth be told, a historic quirk first presented in 1902 when the Edwardian-era development opened because the North British Station Hotel. Then, as now, it overpassed the platforms and sign packing containers of Waverley Train Station, and simply as porters in crimson jackets met visitors off the educate, whisking them from the station reserving corridor to the interconnected reception table within the resort’s basement, the North British Railway Company homeowners sought after to ensure their passengers — and Edinburgh’s hurrying public — would not leave out their trains. Given an additional 3 mins, they reasoned, those travellers would have extra time on the clock to gather their tickets, to succeed in their hall carriages and to dump their baggage earlier than the stationmaster’s whistle blew. Still these days, it is a calculated miscalculation that is helping stay the town on time.