Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - April 2010

The morning of Friday 16th April saw our marking of World Heritage Day.

Apr 29, 2010

Lecture 13th May, No. 5 Charlotte Square 6.30pm

Saving Russia: heroes of conservation in Russia from the time of the revolution to the present day  

The Times former Russia correspondent, Clementine Cecil, will be giving a talk at No 5 on the heroes of conservation in Russia. In her seven years in Moscow, Clem was instrumental in the formation of Moscow Architectural Preservation Society, carrying on a long and proud tradition of fighting for endangered historic buildings in the most difficult of circumstances. Tickets £4

Director's Notes:

The World Heritage Day seminar looked at the challenge of how to balance community, heritage and economic development. A number of community groups presented projects demonstrating the difference that our engagement makes, while at the other end of the scale, heritage consultant James Rebanks demonstrated how World Heritage Status can be thoughtfully used to the advantage of a city or area. The figure that really sticks in the mind (or the craw?) is the $27billion that Abu Dhabi is willing to expend to import and create culture: what price would we (or they) put on Edinburgh? In a morning that covered a great deal of territory, the theme that came through strongest was that of cultural continuity how we can support and sustain this through the living city.

At the seminar there were both old and new faces, including EWH’s new trustees. Following the recent advert, and some very flattering applications, we are thrilled to welcome Alan Donaldson, William Gray-Muir, Colin Morrison, and Teri Wishart to the board. Alan is a partner in Scott-Moncrieff, Chartered Accountants, where he has just completed two terms serving as Chairman/Managing partner. William owns and manages Sundial Properties, which specialises in restoration and conversion of listed buildings within the National Trust.  He is a qualified accountant and previously pursued a career in corporate finance. Colin is a partner in Brodies, LLP, specialising in commercial property, involved particularly with city centre. Teri is currently Director of Development and external relations at the National Library of Scotland, and brings experience in outreach and fundraising to the organisation.

The EWH office is nearly at full capacity. We are delighted to welcome to the office two new interns. Both are currently engaged with the University of Cottbus Masters programme in World Heritage Studies, and have a range of projects to keep them more than busy at EWH over the coming months. These vary from the micro to the macro – from looking at the question of setting in relation to our World Heritage Site and comparing it to others internationally, to completing our study of historic street lighting. All these activities increase both our overall capacity and knowledge base. We are incredibly grateful to them for choosing Edinburgh for their internships. We will shortly be joined by Geneviève Rodrigue who will be helping out with the Energy Efficiency programme.

The push to bring the EWH library back into good shape is nearing completion thanks to the excellent work of volunteer Moira Willis, and we are seeing a welcome increase in the number of users. All we need now is to work out a way of steadily building up the collection of relevant modern and ancient volumes. Donations, both books and funds, towards this aim, are most welcome.

Around the city we have been busy working on a range of initiatives, from our traditional mainstay of the repair of the fabric of the World Heritage Site to the gentle adaptation of its fabric to modern needs. Recent grants include one to the A listed corner block of Stafford Street and Shandwick Place, on one of the major routes into the World Heritage Site. The views from the top of the scaffolding serve to remind us of the importance of the city’s skyline, following the gradients of the ground below.

With stone in mind, we have been in the privileged position of being able to award grant for the repair of the roof of Acheson House on the Royal Mile. The privilege is that our grant enables the opening up of a new source of Carmyllie slates – the first slates to be quarried in Scotland for a very long time indeed.

Work on the final phase of the Twelve Monuments project continues, with preparations for the repair of the lead statue of Charles II in Parliament Square. The more we read up about the piece the more fascinating it becomes – was it Gibbons or a knock-off of his Windsor statue of Charles II? What does its stripped back nature – this is not a monarch in full regalia – tell us about political feeling and national identity at the time? We have recently completed an endoscopic analysis of the structure. While this sounds most uncomfortable for Charles’s horse, it brings us the news that things may not be as bad as we feared.

As you read this, you might have noticed that the website has evolved. We’ve attempted to keep it simple, while making better use of the images we have and presenting our occasionally complex range of work as clearly as possible. There are still aspects of it to clear up. We’d be pleased to hear what you think.

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