Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


New Graveyards Officer appointed

Dr. Susan Buckham has been appointed to oversee plans to improve five historic Edinburgh graveyards.

Jul 22, 2013

In 2009 the graveyards of Greyfriars, Canongate, St Cuthbert’s, New and Old Calton, were added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 Most Endangered Sites, at the request of the City of Edinburgh Council and with the support of EWH. The list aims to raise awareness of the plight of heritage at risk, and to focus efforts on its preservation.

In 2010 Susan was commissioned to compile a scoping study on the priorities for the five graveyards, drawing on her 15 years experience in graveyard research and conservation. The study recommended setting up an overall graveyard trust and friends’ groups for each graveyard as a first step, followed by improvements to the environment and visitor safety, and with large-scale education and conservation projects in the longer term.

As the newly appointed Graveyards Officer, Susan’s work will now focus on implementing the recommendations, building up and coordinating community support, encouraging engagement, and working with colleagues at the City of Edinburgh Council to consider the management of these sites. Her post is funded by EWH, the Pilgrims Trust and World Monuments Fund.

Susan said: “The key to ensuring the future of the historic graveyards is community stewardship, ensuring that their management s shaped by local needs and encouraging people to realise that they are worth looking after.  Once the local community is properly engaged, these areas can break the cycle of decline and be transformed into tranquil green urban oases. The aim is for all five graveyards to become a well-loved community resource and a key attraction for visitors.”

A Friends Group is now being formed for New Calton burying ground, which will encourage locals to get involved in its maintenance, research its history and present it for visitors. For more information contact Susan Buckham on susanbuckham@ewht.org.uk

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