In celebration of 2017 being Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, a bespoke website has been created and filled with 101 of Edinburgh’s most intriguing treasures. A collaboration between Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), Marketing Edinburgh, Edinburgh World Heritage and 44 object owners, the campaign encourages visitors to discover new areas of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh’s 101 Objects is a project that helps visitors discover Edinburgh’s rich history through some of its most treasured objects.
“This list of 101 objects are all interesting in their own right, each with its own story to tell but collectively when they come together, they tell the story of Edinburgh in a different way specifically through its objects,” explains Sue Crossman, Project Co-ordinator for the campaign. “The only place these objects are brought together is on the website; the objects stay in situ and are sitting there ready to be enjoyed by visitors.”
The project also marks a number of anniversaries for the city; the 70th anniversary of the world famous festivals, the 250th anniversary of the New Town and the 100th anniversary of war poets, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, meeting at Craiglockhart hospital. “We’re keen to celebrate the anniversaries happening this year in a slightly different way,” says Sue. “To come up with an innovative way of presenting our existing heritage.”
“This list of 101 objects are all interesting in their own right, each with its own story to tell but collectively when they come together, they tell the story of Edinburgh in a different way specifically through its objects”
The project runs until April 2018, but Sue and the team behind her, hope the campaign continues perhaps with some changes to the objects to reflect subsequent anniversaries and events.
The aim of the project is not only to showcase classic tourist destinations but also undiscovered spots, often unseen by tourists. Sue says: “We’re keen to spread footfall around the city. So while of course there are objects in the Old Town and in the New Town, there are also objects further afield like Craigmillar Castle, Leith and Stockbridge – some of the areas that perhaps don’t get as many visitors as they deserve.”
Through seven themes, the campaign covers Edinburgh’s diverse and interesting culture. “We have divided the objects into seven themes, one of the themes being “Faith and Nation”, and we were keen to present some of the varied nations that have contributed to Edinburgh’s story,” says Sue. One of her favourites is the Sikh scripture located in the Edinburgh Gurdwara in the heart of Leith. “You go into what looks like this austere Scottish Presbyterian church, and all of a sudden you are transported into Sikhism, with this incredibly elaborate presentation that they have for the Sikh scripture,” Sue says. “It’s a wonderful experience and totally unexpected, being smack bang in the middle of Leith.” Find out more here.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS NEAR THE EICC
A steel cut illustration of George MacKay Brown’s poem ‘Beachcomber’, created by Edinburgh-based artist and illustrator Astrid Jaekel, embellishes the seven arched windows at the west end of Rose Street. See the illustration as you savour a pint in the pubs opposite. Credit Marton Zschichla. Find out more here.
Women’s Film Festival
In 1972 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), Lynda Myles, Laura Mulvey and Claire Johnston programmed a season of films dedicated to women directors. The first of its kind in Europe, the programme featured films from different nations, genres and decades. See the programme that earned Lynda Myles her appointment as Artistic Director of the EIFF (the first female director anywhere in the world). Free admission at the Filmhouse on Lothian Road. Find out more here.
Wojtek the Bear
In 1942, Polish soldiers who had escaped the Nazi occupation of their country adopted an orphaned brown bear. Wojtek grew up amongst them and, in order to keep him, the soldiers enrolled him as a Private in the army. After helping carry ammunition in World War Two, Wojtek retired to Edinburgh Zoo and sadly died in 1963. This bronze sculpture in Princes Street Gardens celebrates the brave bear. Free. Find out more here.
The Haymarket Milepost
What had previously been a horse drawn link between Edinburgh and Glasgow was transformed in 1843 with the opening of a railway running between Haymarket and Glasgow. Rail travel became an instant success and four years later the line was extended to join what is now Waverley Station. See the distance marker from where it all began at Haymarket Station for free. Find out more here.
The Skating Minister
Sir Henry Raeburn’s portrait of the skating minister, Robert Walker, has truly captured the minds of Scotland. Now a national icon, see the painting at the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, near Princes Street. Find out more here.