My initial interest in this was purely architectural and seem to have missed any clues as to why this legend, “Heave awa’ chaps, I’m not dead let“, was placed above this portrait of a rather striking young man above the entrance to Paisley Close. Now, months later, I’ve finally gotten around to looking up what this motto means and it turns out there is quite a story behind it. WWW.Best of Scotland.Com informs me that, on the 24th November 1861, a tenement collapsed on the site, killing 35 people. “Heave awa’ chaps, I’m not dead let” is a gentrified version of the cry issued by a young man, Joseph McIver, who was buried beneath the rubble. Mr McIver was rescued and this memorial, carved by Edinburgh based sculpture John Rhind (according to a certain on-line encyclopaedia), placed above the entrance to Paisley Close, which was built on the site.
I wonder how many other stories I haven’t discovered yet?