‘The Red Lady’

This film is about a mausoleum in Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh. The mausoleum no longer survives as it was heavily vandalised and had to be demolished in the late 1980s [the film is narrated by Charles Gray Roberston].

Near the modern part of the cemetery, closest to the main gate, sat the Robertson mortuary chapel, erected in 1865 for Mary Ann Manson (1826–58), daughter of Brigadier-General Manson of the Bombay Artillery [the Manson family originally came from Watten, Caithness].

The tomb/mausoleum/chapel was raised by Mary’s husband, General Alexander Cunningham Robertson (1816–1884) who was a 19th British general and amateur poet.

Mary died in Kussowlee, in the Indian Himalayas, on the 29th April 1858. Her only child, Charles Gray Robertson, was then only 2 years old.

This white marble shrine contained a sculpture of a reclining female figure, visible from the outside, the whole being topped with a ruby glass roof with glass sides which led to locals christening this the ‘Tomb of the Red Lady’ because of the rosy light cast on the figure within.

All that’s left now are the foundations and the recumbent sculpture, fittingly set in a bed of red flowers.

Music credit:
Exit music – by Steven Lindsay.

Closing words: adapted from ‘Grief is the thing with feathers’ by Max Porter

Image credits: CANMORE archive and EdinPhoto: