Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


‘Bible Land’ revealed in all its glory

Conservation work has just been completed on one of the Old Town’s most historic tenements – the curiously named 17th century Bible Land on the Canongate.

Jan 28, 2016

The residents of the building initiated the project, which has been called ‘an excellent example of good practice’ by Sarah Boyack MSP, with financial and expert support from Edinburgh World Heritage. A repayable grant of £97,000 was provided for the repair of the stonework, chimneys, gutters, windows and roof.

The building is over 300 years old and takes its name from the carved stone plaque above its main door. This depicts an open bible with an inscription, as well as a distinctive curved knife used for cutting leather, the craft symbol of the Canongate Incorporation of Cordiners or shoemakers. The inscription reads, ‘Behold how good a thing it is and how becoming well, Together such as brethren are in unity to dwell’ taken from Psalm 133.

Brenda Clark, chair of the resident’s committee said: ‘we knew that our building badly needed repairs, but as none of us were experts we needed help to bring the owners together and agree on a way forward. The assistance of Edinburgh World Heritage has been vital in getting the work carried out, taking us step-by-step through the process and supporting us with the various agencies involved in the project. We could not have done it without them’.

Sarah Boyack MSP, well-know for her support of grassroots tenements groups, has welcomed the project and said: ‘conserving the fabric of our historic buildings is crucial to the long-term success of the city, but organising repairs can be very difficult, time consuming and complex for residents. This project is an excellent example of good practice, with Edinburgh World Heritage supporting the building owners to get on with investing in their properties, and making them fit for the future’.

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