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Greyfriars Bobby
By Eleanor Atkinson (1912)

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 9
Chapter 10

Chapter 11
Chapter 12

You can also read the entire book in pdf format here

Greyfriars Bobby and the One o’clock Gun

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier known to have spent fourteen years guarding the grave of his owner. This remarkable demonstration of loyalty caused him to be the subject of countless books and even movies. To this day, thousands of tourists visit Bobby’s monument and pay homage to his inspiring life.

In Greyfriars Bobby and the One o’clock Gun, George Robinson brings to life Bobby’s inspiring story in unprecedented depth. Based on the facts and press reports published during the period, it features some of the important people that became part of Bobby’s life including Colour Sergeant Scott, the Traill family who looked after and fed Bobby and Baroness Burdett-Coutts, the richest woman in the United Kingdom.

By turns heartwarming, incredible and ultimately unforgettable, Greyfriars Bobby and the One o'clock Gun is an extraordinary tale of friendship and an insightful glimpse into life in 19th century Edinburgh.

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He also sent in an article about postcards...

The hearing to establish the identity of Greyfriars Bobby’s owner took place at the Burgh Court, Edinburgh in April 1867. The hearing resulted in the story of the dog who dined daily at Traill’s Temperance Coffee House being featured all over the world in newspapers and magazines including ‘Harper’s Weekly’.

Deciding that a cabinet card featuring the four-footed celebrity would appeal to the public, commercial photographer Walter Greenoak Patterson produced a card printed with the report of the hearing on the back. The cards were available from the photographer’s print shop in Frederick Street.

The Town Council asked James Brown the superintendent of Greyfriars Kirkyard to look after Bobby. In addition to compiling a guide book featuring the headstones in the kirkyard, James supplemented his weekly wage by selling the cabinet cards to tourists.

A drinking fountain to the memory of the wee dog was set up at the end of George IV Bridge in 1873, the year following the terrier’s death. Baroness Burdett-Coutts the richest woman in the U.K and close friend of Queen Victoria commissioned William Brodie to sculpt the life size monument. The red granite pedestal was probably designed by David Cousins the city architect.

As picture postcards became increasingly popular with the public, companies such as Valentine & Sons in Dundee began printing cards featuring views of the wee dog’s memorial fountain.

Reginald Phillimore the prolific postcard artist who lived in North Berwick not far from Edinburgh produced a hand drawn postcard featuring Bobby’s memorial fountain which quickly became a collector’s item.

Eleanor Atkinson’s best selling novel ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ was published in 1912. The novelist who had been born in Renssalaer, Indiana, U.S.A. had worked as a journalist with the ‘Chicago Tribune’. Although the novelist did not visit Edinburgh, while carrying out research for her novel, she found that the newspaper report of the Burgh Court hearing stated that the surname of Bobby’s owner may have been Gray.

As Eleanor needed a first name for the farm worker who appears in her novel, she decided to call him Jock which quickly led to the belief that the original owner’s name had been John.

Funded by Mr and Mrs Howell Reed of Boston, U.S.A., a memorial stone to Jock was set up in Greyfriars Kirkyard next to a table stone where Bobby was said to have sheltered. Eleanor’s novel combined with the setting up of the memorial stone led journalists and historians to believe that a man called John Gray had been Bobby’s owner.

MGM released ‘Challenge to Lassie’ in 1948. Based on Eleanor’s novel, Lassie played the part of Bobby. The film was so successful that Eleanor’s story was re-filmed by the Walt Disney company starring Donald Crisp as the kirkyard superintendent and released in 1961.

Although thousands of picture postcards have been published featuring Bobby, including John MacLeod’s portrait of the terrier which hangs in Greyfriars Kirk visitors centre, the cards mainly feature views of the iconic memorial fountain.

A set of six cards showing the restaurant where Bobby headed for his dinner when the One o’Clock Gun fired from the Half Moon Battery at Edinburgh Castle is now available. The cards can be obtained from Edinburgh Books

1. Old Greyfriars 1867
2. Traill’s Temperance Coffee House
3. Greyfriars Bobby and the Traill family
4. John Traill and Greyfriars Bobby
5. Greyfriars Bobby and the 78th Highlanders
6. Baroness Burdett-Coutts

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