Uncover Edinburgh’s Lost Past

Press release, Monday 19 September 2016: Public invited to see ‘the Edinburgh that never was’ as part of Doors Open Days.

Submitted by on 19-09-2016 12:01:05

Historic Environment Scotland is throwing open the doors of the National Record of Scotland this weekend to reveal the hidden gems of Edinburgh’s past. Leith’s Trinity House Maritime Museum will also open its doors as part of the Scottish Civic Trust’s popular Doors Open Days programme, assembled by the Cockburn Association.

Edinburgh residents are invited to John Sinclair House on Saturday 24 September to explore the national records of architecture, design, archaeology and industry. There they will have the chance to see Edinburgh as it has never been seen before with behind the scenes tours, talks and exhibitions.

Highlights include a never before seen exhibition of Edinburgh’s historic cemeteries taken by American art curator Robert Reinhardt, and an exclusive preview of Historic Enrivonment Scotland’s new Paul Shillabeer collection, which captures Edinburgh in the 1950s and 1960s.

Exclusive talks include ‘Unbuilt Edinburgh’, an opportunity to see how an alternative Edinburgh may have looked. The talk will focus on unbuilt projects for central Edinburgh, starting with designs by Robert Adam in the 1780s’s and travelling through to the present day.

Neil Gregory, Architecture and Industry Operational Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said:

“We’ve been curating the Scottish National Record of the Historic Environment for over a century, and it comprises over 5 million photographs, drawings and manuscripts.

Doors Open Day is a great opportunity for members of the public to come and explore what we’ve got to offer.

This year, we’re excited to be giving people a trip down memory lane to see photographs of how Edinburgh used to look, architectural models that have never before been on public display, as well as talks exploring plans for buildings that never made it from the drawing board to our streets.”


A photograph of a woman looking holding a photograph of a statue.

HES are also inviting members of the public to get hands on with history by using and adding to the National Record. Demonstrations of the Scotland’s Places and Scran websites will show visitors resources that they can use when conducting their own historical research, and the team from Scotland’s Urban Past will be on hand with information on how to become an Urban Detective.

Meanwhile in Leith, Trinity House Maritime Museum will also be opening its doors to the public. In its bicentenary year, visitors are invited to gain insight into the stories and voyages of Leith’s seafaring past with self-led tours, object handling sessions, quizzes and a free stained glass craft activity. To mark the Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design, Trinity House will also have a temporary exhibition for visitors to enjoy, exploring 200 years of Leith’s nautical heritage. There will also be opportunities to meet painting conservators and find out more about the work they do to care for Historic Environment Scotland’s significant collection of paintings.

John Sinclair House is open on Saturday 24 September, 9.30am - 4.30pm.

Trinity House Maritime Museum is open on Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 September, 10am - 4pm.

For the full programme of buildings opening across Scotland, visit the Doors Open Days website.

Notes for editors

As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
Historic Scotland is a sub brand of Scotland’s new public heritage body, Historic Environment Scotland.

Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925

Scotland’s Urban Past is a five year community engagement project led by Historic Environment Scotland and supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £1.65m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts here. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us

2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design:

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016. It will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Further information

Contact: Ali George, Communications Officer, Historic Environment Scotland
Direct line: 0131 668 8714                            
Mobile: 07583018790
Email: ali.george@hes.scot


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