If you venture through to Edinburgh this week on the train, you might wonder if Waverley station has been attacked by a literature loving graffiti artist.
For the mainline hub has been decorated with famous quotes from Scotland’s original best seller Sir Walter Scott. Among those written on floors and walkways is the famous line: “O what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive.”
It’s all part of a double celebration, marking both the 200th anniversary of the novel Waverley – Sir Walter’s first book – which gives the station its name. It is also the 10th anniversary of Edinburgh’s designation as the world’s first Unesco City of Literature.
Waverley follows the adventures of Englishman Edward Waverley in 1745 Scotland, where he becomes involved in the Jacobite rebellion and the attempt to restore the Stuart kings to the British throne.
About 25,000 copies of a book telling the story of the author’s life will also be handed out as part of the Great Scott! campaign.
As Douglas McNaughton, manager of the Great Scott! campaign, said: “Waverley isn’t a boring, dusty old story – it’s essentially an action movie. The naive young hero is brought up by relatives, goes on a perilous journey and is caught up in the politics of an impossibly strange and exotic landscape. That’s basically the plot of Star Wars.”
Copies of the book will be available at the station in October and November while stocks last.
Some of the names for the Glasgow Subway stations also have historical resonance.
St Enoch Square, for example is the site of a series of chapels that were built to commemorate St Thenew, the mother of Glsagow’s patron saint St Mungo. Enoch is actually believed to be a corruption of Thenew. However the last chapel in the square was demolished back in 1926, but we hope Mungo and his mum would approve of our renovated station.
St George’s Cross meanwhile is named after, you guessed it, St George. The patron saint of England is still commemorated outside the Subway, slaying his dragon. He may or may not have existed of course. And dragons, they definitely didn’t exist regardless of what Game of Thrones fans might think.
As for Cowcaddens: no one actually knows what it means. We’ve searched everywhere on the web. It seems the only definition out there is “part of Glasgow city centre”. Although our suspicion is that it’s something to do with cows…
Do you know?