Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article

 

EWH intern delves into the archives

Student Ellyn Matta has joined EWH on an internship as part of her World Heritage studies at Cottbus University.


May 29, 2014

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ellyn’s projects with EWH focus on using previously untapped archives to shed light on two very different aspects of the city’s history.

The enormous efforts made to conserve the Old and New Towns in the 1970s and 80s is the focus of one project, using the archives of EWH’s predecessors, the Old Town Renewal Trust and the Edinburgh New Town Conservation Committee. Ellyn’s research will highlight how their work, along with grass-roots support from residents and community groups, led directly to gaining World Heritage status in 1995. She is also interviewing former members of staff, and others connected with the conservation movement of the time, to record some of their first-hand experiences. The results will be posted as a series of articles on the EWH website in July.

Ellyn is also researching historic street lighting in the Old and New Towns. This is part of an on-going initiative with the City of Edinburgh Council, to offer guidelines on appropriate designs as existing lamp standards are earmarked for replacement.

Ellyn’s research uses Ordnance Survey maps, historic photos and prints, records in the city archives and early newspapers to try to pin point references to street lighting.

The aim is to find out what type of light was used in specific streets, and how they changed from oil to gas and then electric. It also needs to consider where the lamps were placed, with some streets having railing or street-mounted lights.

The research will help answer a range of questions. For example materials such as aluminium or steel will have a shorter life-span that traditional cast-iron, and historically street lights were often much lower than compared to today’s tall lamp posts. In time, the EWH research will form a map of the World Heritage Site, indicating all the relevant historical information for a specific street, and better informing decisions on future replacements.



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