Category: Scotland.

Edinburgh graveyards named on international 'at-risk' list World Monuments Fund says five of the city's oldest burial sites are in danger of crumbling.

World Monuments Fund says five of the city’s oldest burial sites are in danger of crumbling.

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Five of Edinburgh’s historic graveyards have been added to a list of the 100 most endangered monuments in the world.

The burial grounds within the city’s World Heritage Site are said to be at risk of crumbling into disrepair.

They have now been added to the World Monuments Watch List, which is designed to highlight the threat to selected historic landmarks across the globe. and city officials hope the move will attract international attention to efforts to save them.

The Greyfriars, Canongate, Old Calton, New Calton, and St Cuthberts graveyards house the final resting places of a number of world-renowned figures including the economist Adam Smith and philosopher David Hume.

Important characters from the history of the city such as the poet Robert Fergusson, James Craig who planned the New Town and of course ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ are also buried in the at-risk cemeteries.

Inclusion on the list does not guarantee any financial rewards. However, city officials hope the move will attract international attention to efforts to save the burial grounds.

It also allows the city to access advice and guidance from the World Monuments Fund.

The City of Edinburgh Council says graveyards can be very difficult to maintain. They are owned jointly between the city and the churches respectively, but there are no funds available for repair.

It is also claimed that the secluded nature of graveyards can attract problems such as drug taking and anti-social behaviour.

Some work has already been carried out to improve and restore the affected sites, but Wednesday’s list selection is now being seen as an opportunity to produce a more comprehensive refurbishment plan.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: “Edinburgh’s historic graveyards are an incredible resource for the city. Their continued decay would be tantamount to a loss of part of our cultural memory, as well as the loss of green oases in the heart of the city.

He added: “Valiant efforts have been made by the churches, the council and other concerned groups, but a broader push is needed to halt the decay, let alone help bring these places into good order and make them safe and accessible for visitors and residents alike.”

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader for the City Council, said: “The World Monuments Fund is an internationally renowned organisation and I am very pleased they have recognised the importance of our historic graveyards.

“Some of Edinburgh’s greatest historic monuments are in graveyards and this partnership between Council, Edinburgh World Heritage and the Historic Graveyards Trust is a creative and innovative way of taking forward a conservation project that will deliver real benefits to the city.”

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Category: Scotland
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