Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


The legacy of Patrick Geddes Commemorated

EWH projects are helping to commemorate Patrick Geddes, regarded as the father of town planning.

Jan 24, 2012

Ornamental dragons at the entrance to Wardrop’s Court in the Lawnmarket have been removed for conservation work. Two of these were actually carved by Geddes’ young son Arthur, guided by the sculptor Alec Miller who was with the Guild of Handicrafts, a key part of the Arts and Crafts movement. The building they decorate was constructed in 1892 as part of Geddes’ initiative to encourage the regeneration of the Old Town by bringing university students and tutors to live in the community.

Much of the detail on the combs and tails of the dragons has been lost over the years, so the dragons will be re-carved and repaired where required. They will be re-painted in a colour as close to the original blue as possible, and regilded in double thickness 23 carat yellow transfer gold. The dragons should be back in the place in the spring.

The work will be undertaken by a young craftsman John Ritchie, who learnt his trade thanks to the Prince of Wales Building Apprenticeship programme. Having completed the course, John then set up his own business with funding from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, and has now taken on an apprentice himself.

The work of Patrick Geddes is also to be commemorated with a new monument sculpted by Kenny Hunter. The project is an initiative of the Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust, and the monument will be erected in a garden owned by the University of Edinburgh, allowing public access for the first time.

The location is particularly symbolic being opposite Ramsay Garden, perhaps the best example of Geddes’ work in adapting the Old Town’s historic buildings for the university.

Edinburgh World Heritage has awarded a total of £10,000 towards the project, but more fundraising is needed to reach the £65,000 target for new monument.

For more on Patrick Geddes visit www.patrickgeddestrust.co.uk

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