The Care and Conservation of Shared Georgian Gardens by John Byrom is a much-awaited manual providing detailed guidance on the long term management and maintenance of Edinburgh’s 47 circus, square, crescent and informal grid-edge gardens which form a major component of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town and the City’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Intended specifically for garden management committees, the book has a wider purpose to inform an interested public and academic readership beyond Edinburgh on a subject hitherto unpublished.

The manual is in four parts:

Part 1:  introduces its garden subjects, their family generic likeness and their preferred state within the Georgian aesthetic of the Picturesque

Part 2:  provides detailed generic guidance on the forms and character of garden components (woodland, shrubbery, lawns, borders and artefacts), each in their preferred state and as part of a hypothetical garden named ‘Regent Square Garden’

Part 3:  considers the relative biodiversity of Regent Square Garden according to increasing intensities of use within the preferred state, and levels of management to improve the biodiversity of the overall breviary

Part 4:  applies the details of Parts 2 and 3 to the cyclical generic management of Regent Square Garden over a period of 100 years

John Byrom is a landscape architect and former Director of the Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. In the 1960s, John was commissioned to appraise the condition of Edinburgh’s New Town Gardens by the Civic Trust was part of the survey hich led to the creation of the Edinburgh New Town Conservation Committee. The work also became the basis of his late wife, Connie Byrom’s book The Edinburgh New Town Gardens (Birlinn, 1995). 

John Byrom was subsequently commissioned by Edinburgh World Heritage Trust to produce a handbook in response to a perceived need for professional advice on their appropriate maintenance and replanting of the New Town gardens. The project was overseen by a steering group chaired by Professor David Ingram, former Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The book’s publication in 2017 is a contribution to marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town.

Published in association with Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

Publication Date: February 2018

This publication is supported by The Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust and Edinburgh Decorative and Fine Art Society

Price: £25 (hardback) ISBN:   978-0-9930544-3-3      Extent: 200pages with 60 colour plates and line drawings


Purchase by post: Cheque made out to 'EOTDT' to The Word Bank, 8 Jackson's Entry, Edinburgh EH1 2HS (With free UK postage, £25; with EU postage, £35; with World postage, £40)

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This book should be read by any serious student of Scotland's built environment...'

David Ross, Sunday Herald


For the first time we have a convincing explanation as to how the tenement form mutated into the distinctive council housing of Scotland in the inter-war years.’ 

Richard Rodger, Introduction


 Scotland’s Homes Fit for Heroes is a major contribution to the historical literature on early 20th Century housing reform and town planning in Scotland.  Against the background of an indigenous tenement tradition, and the early development of the mainstream garden city movement, the book provides a broad overview of the key influences of garden city principles in Scotland, highlighting their impact on the built form of working class housing and the general pattern of urban expansion.

The work is based on a wide-ranging review of official documents and contemporary reports, along with insights gained from site visits to various locations across Scotland.  Although no full-scale garden cities were actually built in Scotland between 1900 and 1939, the promotion of garden city ideas generated a lively debate about the relative advantages of cottages versus tenements for working class families.  Before the outbreak of WW1, innovative cottage developments began to appear in the Scottish landscape, sponsored by a handful of progressive voluntary bodies and local authorities. This type of provision increased during WW1 through a variety of efforts to construct suitable accommodation for incoming defence workers.

After the war, a more concerted attempt was made to deliver garden city style cottages under the newly-enacted Housing and Town Planning (Scotland) Act of 1919. In difficult economic circumstances, Scottish local authorities managed to build 25,000 houses throughout the country and voluntary bodies produced another 500.  Although these outputs were seen to be disappointing in quantitative terms, the general standard of accommodation was highly impressive in terms of quality.  Virtually all of the 1919 Act housing has been well cared for over the years, and the best developments have become symbols of the aims and achievements of the ‘Homes Fit for Heroes’ campaign for better living conditions.

Foreword by Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Edinburgh

Lou Rosenburg is an honorary fellow based at the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, University of Edinburgh. He is the co-author of two previous books, Renewing Old Edinburgh: The Enduring Legacy of Patrick Geddes (Argyll Publishing, 2010) with Jim Johnson, and Urban Housing Policy (APS Publications, 1975) with William G. Grigsby.

Published in association with the Scottish Centre for Conservation  Studies based at the University of Edinburgh.

This publication is supported by Historic Environment Scotland  and The Strathmartine Trust.    

Price: £14.99 (softcover) ISBN: 978-0-9930544-2-6 Extent: 256 pages, full colour throughout.

Purchase by post: Cheque made out to 'EOTDT' to The Word Bank, 8 Jackson's Entry, Edinburgh EH1 2HS (With free UK postage, £14.99; with EU postage, £20; with World postage, £25)

Trade: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07598323440





Here is a summary of a presentation given by Trust member Jim Johnson to a conference in Old Montreal in 1994.

Based on his experience of the Old Town, it raises the question of how the City of Edinburgh approach to cultural tourism has developed in the last 20 years – and can it still learn from any of the lessons set out below?

Definition of ‘cultural tourists’: Cultural tourists leave a historic city knowing more about the city than they did previously and having had their eyes opened to a greater appreciation of the cultural values embodied in it.

This definition puts the responsibility onto the ‘hosts’ not the visitors; the ‘host’ has to manage and structure the interpretation of the historic area.

Read more: Five Lessons in Cultural Tourism

When the pair of ospreys fled the T in the Park site at Strathallan they had to go somewhere to build their nest. Using Edwin Muir's poem The Horses as his guide, Terry Power picks up the story of their arrival in Edinburgh's Old Town.

Barely two weeks after the T in
The Park debacle that set the web alight,
Late in the evening the grand ospreys came.
By then we had lived so long with noise
That in the first few days it was so still
We seemed to listen to our breathing for the first time.
Stags stopped and stared, and the Hens decamped.
On the third day the Jazz troupe left, heading north,
Dead-looking dee-jays with their decks, sad buskers
Piled seaward down to Leith and the ships.
The last post sounded its Tattoo and
A plane plunged over us into the street. Thereafter
Nothing. The speakers and the drummers dumb,
We stand in the corners of our kitchens,
And if we should speak, we can hear what’s said,
Are suddenly are prompted to speak again,
And stoop to listen.
Soon that old bad world that shamed our children
And pressed them into Service seemed so strange to us.
We would not have it back again.
Sometimes we wonder at our loved ones lying asleep
Uninterrupted. Now that we are awake
We make our own festivities, revive old customs
Long laid aside. We have gone back far past our fathers' land.
Yes, that April evening
To our disputed place the grand ospreys came.
We heard a distant flapping on the wind,
A deepening drumming of wings; it stopped, we saw them
Settle on Goosepie House, Ramsay Garden.
We saw the heads
Pointing to a lost place. We were afraid.
We had slaughtered them for profit,
To feed the wealthy. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous birds sketched in an ancient book.
We did not dare go near them due to a wise law.
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
To restore to us some long-lost companionship,
In that first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures that would stay the Summer.
But stay they did, making a sweet wilderness of our broken world,
Til the female left in August darkening the Tents on Charlotte Square.
Before the others left, the father took his son to fish
Among the Pentlands. Their absence pierced our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.


  Images Courtesy of Eddie Gibbons


Evergreen Poets Evening

An evening of ideas, poetry and music to celebrate the publication of the first issue of The Evergreen for 120 years held in the beautiful and historic Geddes Rooms at Riddles Court.


Marcas Mac an Tuairneir • Richie McCaffery • Ian McDonough • Andrew McDougall • Mario Relich • Nancy Somerville • Jock Stein


Richie McCaffery on Patrick Geddes and Hugh MacDiarmid


Kirsty Law

 It was in 1896 that the last Evergreen was published in Edinburgh’s Old Town by Patrick Geddes and colleagues.

The Word Bank, with the support of Creative Scotland, has launched a new Evergreen (Oct 2014).

The Word Bank recognises the part literature and literary tradition have to play in shaping our communities, both local and national – art creates our sense of the city, and what it means to live in it.