New College on the Mound in Edinburgh, Scotland is home to the School of Divinity at The University of Edinburgh.

The College shares its site with the General Assembly Hall, the main meeting venue of the Church of Scotland. Over its history Edinburgh has been one of the world’s leading centres of Reformed theology, and has been home to distinguished theologians such as HR Mackintosh, John Baillie, TF Torrance and John McIntyre, and influential biblical scholars and expositors such as James S. Stewart and James Barr.

The site on the Mound, in the centre of Edinburgh, was purchased in 1844 for £10,000. The celebrated Edinburgh Architect, William Henry Playfair, designed the buildings to be an imposing edifice in a prominent part of the capital, and an expression of the confidence of the Free Church. The plan was to provide accommodation for a full university.

The cost of the building was raised largely from donations by Free Church members, particularly the Free Church congregation in the Old Town, in return for including a church (now New College Library) among the new buildings. The College’s distinguished first principal, Thomas Chalmers laid the building’s foundation stone on 3 June 1846, and it opened to professors and students in 1850.

The Mound is an artificial hill which connects Edinburgh’s New Town and its Old Town. It was formed by the dumping of 1,501,000 cartloads of earth excavated from the draining of the Nor Loch – which today forms Princes Street Gardens and the foundations of Princes Street. The Mound was officially opened in 1781. When the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was extended to Waverley in 1846, tunnels were driven under The Mound to allow access to the west.

Some of Edinburgh’s most notable buildings and institutions have their premises on The Mound, including the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the spires of New College, the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland, and the elegant domed Headquarters of the Bank of Scotland.

Today The Mound is a busy, if fairly steep, thoroughfare taking traffic from Princes Street, over the Royal Mile and into the Old Town. Due to its raised elevation, the Mound commands expansive views over Princes Street and the New Town of Edinburgh and towards Calton Hill.

Shot taken from the bottom of the Playfair Steps next to the National Gallery of Scotland.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)


1 shot RAW file converted to 3 exposures in photoshop raw converter, HDR’d and tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.

Featured in : Bits and Pieces : 24 May 09

Related shots can be found at: Edinburgh or you can look at all my HDR shots.


school of divinity, university of edinburgh, general assembly hall, church of scotland, edinburgh, the mound, hdr, hdri, scotland, scottish, alba, uk, united kingdom

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  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownabout 5 years ago

    Can anyone attend Tom or is there an entrance exam!! Fabulous shot!!

  • Cora Wandel
    Cora Wandelabout 5 years ago

    Excellent work, Tom!

  • Barbara Manis
    Barbara Manisabout 5 years ago

    Wonderful capture, Tom! I always love it that you provide us with info on your shots! Thank you!

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 5 years ago


  • hereforfun
    hereforfunabout 5 years ago

    You have so many beautiful and imposing bulidings, as always lovely colour and capture Tom :-) Trudi

  • Thank you Trudi. Edinburgh is a great city, there is so much history …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrentonabout 5 years ago

  • Thank you so much, I am honoured …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Catherine Hamilton-Veal  ©
    Catherine Hami...about 5 years ago

    lovely work Tom, and congratulations.x

  • John44
    John44about 5 years ago

    Lovely composition, POV and lights.

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyalmost 3 years ago

    Okay! I recognize it now. Thanks, Tom. I actually have a pic of it I took back in ’99. Different angle from this one – I was further up towards the castle.

  • It is a fantastic building, click here to see the quadrangle …

    – Tom Gomez

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