Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


New friends for New Calton graveyard

New Calton burial ground has recently seen a series of improvements, thanks to joint project between EWH and a newly formed group of volunteers.

Jul 22, 2016

The aim is to increase awareness of the burial ground as an important heritage asset, public greenspace and a key pedestrian route linking Calton Hill with the Canongate.

The project started in November last year with the formation of a group of volunteers as the Friends of New Calton, with core members bringing skills such as genealogy, tour guiding and cemetery management to the project. The group has then co-created a series of initiatives with EWH, designed to make the site more accessible to the public.

A new interpretation panel for the burial ground has been installed, highlighting some of the key features of the site and encouraging people to explore and access attractions in the Canongate. New planting has also been put in place at the Regent Road entrance, with the help of a group of visiting American students.

An education pack has been designed to enable Scout and Guide leaders use the burial ground in their activities, investigating its history and revealing some the hidden meaning and stories behind the headstones.

A series of guided tours have also been organised, interpreting the site for the public and encouraging tour guides to bring their groups to the burial ground. Further tours are planned for local residents and workers, to show them the fascinating heritage on their own doorstep.

The project has successfully increased footfall to the site, by facilitating pedestrian access, and the new signage and planting has provided an attractive and heightened roadside presence to the entrance. Community feedback suggests that the burial ground is now perceived as a safer and more attractive space. The site was also under-researched and knowledge about its history and people buried there was limited. The project has improved our understanding of New Calton and the people buried there, adding considerably to the repertoire of stories about the site.

The Friends of New Calton and EWH will be looking for opportunities to take forward the project to the next phase, building on the success of this initial work.

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