Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - December 2014

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Dec 8, 2014

When giving presentations about Edinburgh to different audiences, I frequently refer to the Old Town in the context of a range of European cities such as Bratislava, Amsterdam and Brno. Our late past-chairman, Charles McKean, frequently referred to the Old Town as a European city, and a comparison of the urban form with these other cities (allowing for Edinburgh’s exceptional topography) largely bears this out.

Where, however, the analysis would appear to fall short is in the question of colour. Edinburgh’s Old Town is largely the colour of the time-worn stone from which it is constructed, whereas our friends on the continent are frequently brightly coloured. It was not always thus, and the many works to improve the Old Town from the inter-war period onward, saw the stripping back of harling from the buildings to expose the bare stone.

Occasionally the opportunity arises to support the restoration colour to buildings in the city, such as with the coat of limewash to Bells Brae a few years ago. We are delighted to be supporting the reinstatement of harling to Panmure House, just off the Canongate, as part of the Edinburgh Business School’s splendid project to bring Adam Smith’s last home back into use, and as we report in this newsletter, test patches have been applied to the stone and look superb.

We have no doubt that other projects will come forward for the repair of buildings in our priority areas within the Old Town, and where appropriate, we will encourage the reintroduction of harling and colour – old technology for warmer homes and cheerier streets.

As this is the last e-news of 2014, may I take this opportunity to thank you all, on behalf of the board and team, for your ongoing support during the year, and to encourage those of you who are not already Friends of EWH to sign up and lend us your support. Every little bit of which will help us in our mission to celebrate our World Heritage city - involving residents, businesses and visitors in delivering crucial social, environmental and economic benefits, and ensuring that our future is as bright as our past.

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