Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - August 2011

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Aug 12, 2011

Somehow the Festival seems to have crept up upon us rather more quickly this year, disguised by the climate’s shoddy attempt at summer. I have occasionally rambled on about the changing seasons in the city – you are never far from nature and the constant change that is a part of its life – but the more I dwell on it, the more it rings true: the city changes radically throughout the year with both the weather and the ebb and flow of its cultural life. The stone changes colour with the light, and the sun creates depth through the play of the shadows on our heavily articulated walls, while public spaces change from being are filled with life to being places of quiet contemplation.

On the evening of Monday 15th August, we will see architect Malcolm Fraser in conversation with the head of Creative Scotland, Andrew Dixon, in the EWH event for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It promises to be an interesting evening and we look forward to seeing our friends and supporters there. This is not the only interesting development in Charlotte Square at the moment: plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of the former headquarters of the National Trust for Scotland on the south side. The new owners made a point of talking to us early on, and we are pleased that our thoughts relating to the World Heritage Site’s Outstanding Universal Value have been taken on board. The plans see the buildings reused as very smart old office accommodation (none of this open plan false ceiling faddism) with the relationship between the palace fronted block to Charlotte Square and the lane maintained.

Our recent conservation project, The Scotsman Steps, has been mentioned in a number of write-ups with a real appreciation of Martin Creed’s work No 1059. So far they appear to be holding up well to the rigours of daily life, and they will hopefully continue to encourage exploration of the city.

With money in mind, we are carrying out a study on the economic benefits of the World Heritage Site. The method we are using for the study involves us understanding how people value the World Heritage Site and its conservation and repair. This is important work both for us and for other urban World Heritage Sites and we need your help, by filling out a short questionnaire (which should take no more than ten minutes). To make the study worthwhile, we need a sample of about 1000, so please also pass it on to any colleagues or friends who might find it of interest.

Other EWH supported conservation works around the city continue, with tourists descending from the Castle to Johnston Terrace being greeted by a beautifully restored skyline of a building undergoing works to reuse it as a hostel. For those visiting Greyfriars and the almost inexplicably famous Greyfriars Bobby (I say “almost” as the good work of the One O’Clock Gun Association has much to do with it) works are now complete to a handsome early nineteenth century block on Candlemaker Row, where EWH has supported repairs. Last but not least, our work on energy efficiency issues continues, with workshops being organised to offer practical advice on adapting your home sensitively. If you are interested in attending, please contact Chiara Ronchini.

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