NT2574 : Siver on Calton Hill

taken 8 years ago, near to Edinburgh, Great Britain

Siver on Calton Hill
Siver on Calton Hill
This old storm drain is an Edinburgh 'siver' (pronounced sy-ver). The word is clearly related etymologically to 'sewer'. In Glasgow, I believe, it is called a stank, in Perth a condie (from conduit) and in other places, from Dundee to Galashiels, a gundie. The fact that - like so many nowadays - it is blocked up, suggests that sivers have long been superseded by newer drainage systems. Sivers can loom large in memories of a childhood spent largely playing out-of-doors in the street. I heard recently from one woman who remembers how, in the 1950s, because she was small, she would be held by her ankles and lowered head-first into the siver by her pals to retrieve toys that had inadvertently fallen into it. One of my personal memories is of lollipop-stick races being held on days of torrential rain. The sticks would be dropped into the gutter and slowly speed up on their way to the siver, negotiating specially built dams along the way, before disappearing down the drain. There never seemed to be a shortage of sticks lying around in my street which was not far from this one.

Also useful for playing "siver tig": "Any number can play. Ye a' run to a siver and ye're safe there until the one's that out cries 'Change!' or 'Budge!' and ye've to run to another siver, and when ye're runnin' the one that's out tries to tig you." -- schoolchild quoted in J Ritchie, Golden City, 1965
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NT2574, 1238 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 2 July, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 3 July, 2010
Drain   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 25 74 [1000m precision]
WGS84: 55:57.4631N 3:11.6879W
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