Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - February 2012

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Feb 20, 2012

As we look to the next few years of our operation, on the back of the excellent news of a three year funding package from the Scottish Government, via Historic Scotland, and the super start to our fundraising efforts through the Big Give, our minds invariably turn to the way in which the city will evolve in the coming years, and the part EWH will play in this.

The Edinburgh Tourist Action Group has launched its 2020 strategy, which places great emphasis on the importance of the city centre in sustaining and supporting Scotland’s tourist industry, worth £1bn a year to Edinburgh alone. The Scottish Government has launched its Economic Strategy and Regeneration Strategy along with its Agenda for Cities. These all support the notion that heritage has a key role in creating attractive and safe communities and places where people want to live, work, spend time and visit, encouraging economic development.

It is therefore an exciting and interesting time to be involved with EWH. We are currently seeking new trustees to add to our splendid board, and we are inviting expressions of interest in the Chair of EWH. After 6 years of sterling work, steering EWH through choppy waters, Professor Charles McKean is stepping down in September. We are all incredibly grateful to Charles for his contributions of time and expertise to the organisation, especially given the voluntary nature of role, and I must extend my personal thanks for his patient ear and gentle but firm way of steering my thinking and actions.

For those wishing a lower level of involvement in the organisation and its activities, we will hope to see as many of you as possible at the Italian institute next Thursday evening for an event with the RSA on energy efficiency, starring our own Chiara Ronchini and that those of you needing entertainment will join in with the family fun and games at the newly refurbished Portrait Gallery (which is well worth a look – banished is the dark, cold and smallish gallery of the past).

Conservation and repair works are continuing, with the unveiling of the Ainsley Gate at Gardner's Crescent in honour of all Derek Ainsley’s terrific work in bringing this super restoration project to life. For those of you wandering along Nicholson Street, you’ll have noticed the restoration of the upper parts of the Poundsavers building, but not content solely with this, Mr Ahmad, surely a modern day hero of conservation, is going the whole nine yards with the restoration of his shop front to the original. The building stands out in distant views along the South Bridge and the first half of the restored shop front is now peeking out.

Meanwhile two new projects are underway, firstly the conservation and repair of the Patrick Geddes designed dragons above Wardrop’s Close and secondly, the creation of a memorial to Geddes beside his delightful Ramsay Gardens. When looking to those next few years of our operation, perhaps we should seek inspiration for some of our current works.

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