Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Good news, bad news...

I confess - this is a cheat. This is not all 'my' blog today, as I stole many of the words. It's the latest news from Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, www.ewht.org.uk/ who people will remember as the Secretary of SAVE until he moved on last year to take over the helm in the beautiful Charlotte Square (yes, green with envy...). However, it's well worth reading and following the links to find out what is happening in the World Heritage Site of Edinburgh. This of course is the good news - the bad is usually to be found here:

"Director's Notes January 2009

EWH continues its work at full steam ahead even as the winter chill blows across Edinburgh. Our hessian protecting the careful repointing in lime mortar of the base of the National Monument has survived the gales and frosts, ensuring the long term stability of the structure.

Scaffolding has gone up around the Burns monument (pictured above) in preparation for its repair and fundraising efforts continue for both this and the Nelson Monument. The need for a strong vision and a clear management framework of their environs on Calton Hill is as strong as ever, and EWH will continue to work in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council towards this.

The interpretation panels that have gone up on the hill are very well used and it is pleasing to report that our temporary boards, located near our various repair projects, continue to attract positive comment – at Shandwick Place and Well Court in the Dean Village in particular.
A further interpretive project is just starting up with the City of Edinburgh Council at the Museum of Edinburgh, creating a learning space for families. This is a small step, but significant step on the journey to engage everyone in the importance of the World Heritage Site.

Our programme of publications for the year is firing up with a series of historic home guides – in many ways bite-sized updates of the classic “The Care and Conservation of Georgian Houses” also covering the Old Town (if you have a copy of the C&C lock it up somewhere safe – they are as rare as hen’s teeth and cost more second hand than they did new).

We have a limited number of seats to a small celebration of Burns on the 28th January – it is strictly first come first served but signals the start of the development of a series of public events making better use of our offices at No 5 Charlotte Square."
I am told it's whisky and Black Bun not tatties, neeps and haggis, so if you can get to Embra - do rush to book your place.

Other news and events here:

By co-incidence, Gervase has posted on his blog about the War Memorials Trust and the good work carried out; the same organisation gave a grant towards the repair of the National Monument on Calton Hill.

More bad news on the conservation front, received today; I can do no better than post a link to it, and go drown my sorrows in a glass or two of something very alcoholic:
Back soon. Do keep commenting - I know I'm not alone then.


Gervase said...

Also on the SAVE site is sad news about the iconic headstocks at Annesley Colliery.
It seems bizarre that the miners' strike is now history - a quarter of a century gone (and an entire industry).

It stands so proud, the wheels so still,
A ghost-like figure on the hill.
It seems so strange, there is no sound,
Now there are no men underground.

What will become of this pit-yard,
Where men once trampled faces hard?
Tired and weary, their work done,
Never having seen the sun.

Will it become like sacred ground?
Foreign tourists gazing round.
Asking if men once worked here,
Way beneath this pit-head gear.

Empty trucks once filled with coal,
Lined up like men on the dole.
Will they e're be used again,
Or left for scrap just like the men?

There'll always be a happy hour
For those with money, jobs and power.
They'll never realise the hurt,
They cause to men they treat like dirt.

What will become of this pit-yard,
Where men once trampled faces hard?
Tired and weary, their work done,
Never having seen the sun.

There'll always be a happy hour
For those with money, jobs and power.
They'll never realise the hurt,
They do to them they treat like dirt.

That's by Kay Sutcliffe, wife of a Kent miner. It's been performed by Chumbawumba, Martin Carthy, Coope, Boyes & Simpson, the Oyster Band and many more.

Nemesis said...

I know - I find it very sad, how so much of our mining heritage is being wiped out.

I had intended before now to post on my blog about the RCAHMS Treasured Places exhibition, just ended in Edinburgh (we spent a very long time enjoying it) and I will try to do that soon, but in the meantime here's the poem which was commissioned to celebrate that:

A Poem by Valerie Gillies

In January 2008, RCAHMS commissioned Valerie Gillies, the Edinburgh Makar, to write a poem to celebrate the winning image.

The Lady Victoria Colliery

The Lady is the last of all her kind.
Headframe in the clouds, these pulley-whorls
Change with the light, a beacon to remind
Who fuelled Scotland, lit us, kept us warm.

The shaft was sunk to reach the deepest seams:
The Jewel, clear shining, the Splint, hard glinting,
The Parrot crackling with its bright papingo flame,
All the extent and take of the colliery workings

For miles underground below the valley of the Esk.
Where a face opened, they cut the coal out
With pick and shovel. Deep mining mechanised
With ear-splitting shearers, self-advancing supports.

The miner was always listening to make sure
If he could hear the earth shift, the creak of props
Before roof-fall, the squeal of chocks under pressure.
Working underground gave him an edge.

Men and hutches shot up and down the shaft
In double-decker cages with a balance rope,
With brakes, jacketed cylinders, drop valves,
Steam-powered by winding-engine, lion rampant.

Steel-framed, arcaded, with sheet-metal roofs,
The red-brick buildings are fit for purpose.
The endless rope, tub circuit, tipplers moved
Into the estuary of railway yards and sidings.

At washers and hoppers, at the jigger screens,
The shades that leant across the picking-tables
Never stopped the chutes of coal in a torrent,
Their teamwork controlling drum and cable.

Keep her headgear. The Lady burns our minds.
Without her wheels we could never know
How, in the miner's eye, a coal glows.
The Lady is the last of all her kind.

And by tomorrow I will recall the poetic form... but tonight I am sad for the loss of so much, but delighted that this was chosen as the most treasured place in Scotland.