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The West Port Garden: commemorating 10 years of community involvement

The West Port Garden has recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of local community association GRASS: The Grassmarket Residents Association taking on its organisation and upkeep. During which time it has gone from strength to strength and is truly a small haven of tranquillity in an otherwise busy and bustling area of the Old Town.

Ahead of the anniversary, the residents and gardeners involved decided they would commission a banner to be made in celebration. This led to the creation of the wonderful banner pictured below and currently on display as the exhibition’s centrepiece. The banner was produced by the Lister Housing Co-op’s Arts and Crafts Group and one of the exhibition panels on display gives insight into its creation.

Recently, on Tuesday 7 November a packed George Washington Browne room at Central library heard from two speakers. One was local historian and tour guide Jean Bareham who gave a fascinating talk on the West Port Gardens’ background, a tale which starts off with Patrick Geddes and his daughter Norah. Norah Geddes was responsible for the gardens’ design back in 1909 as part of the wider ‘Geddes Garden’ scheme. The talk gave great insight into the process of the garden’s creation as well as capturing the way of thinking of both Norah and her esteemed father had towards the development of green spaces in the city generally.

The second speaker on the evening was Jean-Luc who is part of the Lister Arts and Crafts group for Lister Housing Co-op. Jean-Luc delighted everyone with the story of the not uncomplicated creation of the banner from first designs to the final object.

There is a book of poetry dedicated to the Garden called ‘Spaces Open: poems for the West Port Garden’. It is written by 12: an all-female writers collective and you can find more information about it via Main Point Books.

Please come along to see the fantastic display in person sometime before the end of this year and of course, experience the West Port Garden itself if you can, when it is open to the public.


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