One of the observers on the FoRP Board has submitted an application for the Armoury to be given War Memorial status to the War Memorials Trust. The calls for the inscription of this Second World War era building as a War Memorial on the basis of its use an an ARP Control Centre building. We hope to get a decision in the next couple of months. If you’d like to read the application, please click here
The Council have agreed for Murrayfield Wanderers to have drainage at the rugby pitches improved in the park, using funding from the SRU at Murrayfield. They are providing £150,000 to pay for contractors to dig up the two rugby pitches, put in drainage, and then reinstate them. The investment is a planning condition imposed by the Council arising from the Edinburgh Rugby development on the training pitches at Murrayfield, where the SRU are erecting a new stadium.
The works would happen in two phases, with one pitch developed while the second remains playable. Once pitch one is complete the works would move to pitch two. At present there is drainage in the east side of the park but none in the west. The weather over the past couple of years has highlighted the vulnerabilities of the current poor drainage, with the grounds becoming boggy after heavy downpours.
The works are scheduled to go out shortly to tender before commencing later in 2020. Access to and from the site will be via the existing access road at Roseburn Crescent.
The Council have given FoRP the tender documents in advance and asked us to circulate them. The specifications for the work can be downloaded here.MWRFC_Section B_Specification_DRAFT
The Conditions of the contract can be downloaded here MWRFC_Section A_Conditions_DRAFT
The Bill of Quantities, with more details of what the work entails, is here MWRFC_Section C_BoQ_DRAFT
Please submit all queries, questions or comments on the proposed work to Graham Croucher in the Council’s Sports Development Team at Graham.Croucher@edinburgh.gov.uk with a copy to Ritchie Fraser, the local Parks officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org and a copy to the Friends of Roseburn Park at email@example.com . There is no deadline, but the sooner the better.
Friends of Roseburn Park comment: Whilst generally welcoming improvements to the park’s amenity, we are concerned about plans to use glyphosate herbicide to clear the turf initially, pointing to the Council and SEPA’s restrictions. There are procedures which have to be followed if it is permissible to use it in a public park where people including small children are going to be walking/exercising nearby, dogs are able to exercise unleashed etc. We will request as an alternative that the turf be cut and removed.
We are also pointing out there’s a concrete slab under the flood wall that extends a few metres underneath the grass. We are asking the Council to ensure that none of the trees planted are damaged during building works. Also access to the site for trucks sits on the route to school taken by Roseburn Primary School pupils and we want assurances on safety. We also don’t believe the path there, with the sharp bend at the old playpark, is wide enough to get vehicles round.
CRICKET CLUB PLANS THIRD NET LANE
Also in a much smaller development, the Council have given Murrayfields DAFs Cricket Club the green light to construct a third net lane along side the existing 2 they have already. All 3 will also be resurfaced. The 3rd lane is in response to the huge upsurge and success of their junior section and is subject to the DAFs raising the necessary funds. The earliest the work would go ahead is spring 2021.
TWO CHERRY TREES TO BE CUT DOWN
Later this week, the Council will be removing two trees from the Park – they are very obvious as all their loose twigs/branches have been removed. They are just two trunks and main limbs at present. They are diseased; the bark has a fungal infection which could spread to the rest of the Cherry trees. The whole avenue of Cherries is under stress, as the tarmac is too close to the trees. Replacement trees will be funded by the Council.
REFURBISHMENT TARGET £78,000
We are fundraising to convert our disused toilet block into a charming snug cafe.
The block sits on the Water of Leith path, in the shadow of Murrayfield Stadium;
as a community café it will help support local jobs and volunteering
opportunities, while providing a warm and accessible space for local people
to meet up. Not only does the conversion have the backing of residents, it
has planning permission and the support of the Council who’ve agreed to a
lease. Income from the cafe will help to support the Friends’ other projects
to improve the amenity and quality of the Park.
We started crowdfunding in September 2019 on the same date as our Mural launch and since then we’ve raised £11,632 with our “buy a brick” scheme (with Gift Aid), which has now closed. We are presently submitting funding bids for the remaining cash and hope to have positive news by Xmas 2020.
To see our business plan for the cafe, click here.
The West Edinburgh Neighbourhood Partnership (part of the Council) has funded 4 replacement trees on the west side of Roseburn park with a grant to FoRP of £586. We added £173 of our own and the local Parks budget put in £105, to meet the total cost of £864. We have got a walnut at either end and a large-leaved lime and black poplar in the middle. It’s very open to the wind here and we hope in due course this line of trees, which will line up with the rowans put in two years ago, will form a wind break.
This was because 8 new trees put here in 2017 were damaged by wind and/ or vandalised so badly they needed replacing. These were trees that were planted by the floodworks contractor, after 30 were felled due to the floodworks prevention programme. There were originally 9 planted at this location. 7 have been damaged/vandalised but our Council Trees and Woodlands Officer, reckons that the originals were planted too close together and were prone to wind blast.
The Trees Officer advised that, given the prominence of the location, replacements need to be standard tree size with a triple stake and cage protection to ensure they get established. The stock grown at the Council nursery was too small for this so we would bought trees in.
The Trees were installed by Tom Dixon of TD Landscaping, the Council’s framework contractor, approved to undertake park tree planting. Volunteer planting was not advised as the ground conditions are quite tough. The flood prevention contractor used this area as their site compound and the ground here is highly compacted due to the heavy equipment and materials stored at this location.
Following our concerns, last November the Tree Officer tried to contact the Project Manager for the flood prevention works and discovered the trees were not covered by the contract for replacements, especially if vandalism involved. In January we met one of the Rangers and discussed budgets. At that time it was suggested there might be scope for funding from monies left over in 2018/19 budget. Subsequent discovery that further savings had been demanded in the Parks budget, so no funds were available from this source. In the long term, FoRP anticipates these new trees will become another reason to visit the park.
WW2 ARP MURAL on the ARMOURY
Launch: Lord Provost Cllr Frank Ross unveiled the mural on Sunday 1st Sept 2019, 80 years after the beginning of WW2.
The mural was painted by Zap Graffitti Arts with help from local people and celebrated the construction of the building as an Air Raid Protection centre and the work of the volunteers who kept us safe during WW2.The launch picture features (from R to L): Cllr Frank Ross, Margaret Smith (whose dad was a Warden here), John Shand (in the wheelchair- who had been a messenger boy) with his friend, and Pete Gregson, FoRP Chair.
What does the mural mean? On the left hand side, the “W” on the helmet stands for “warden” or fire warden. They ran the show inside the Armoury, co-ordinating messages and action by the emergency services when the city was bombed and were either too old to fight or were volunteers from the “reserved occupations” (eg police). On the right hand side, you can see the messenger boy (usually aged 14-17), who had an “M” on their helmets; their role was to take paper messages to and from the bomb sites.
The top part of the mural shows the streets these youths would travel along; on the left, Corstorphine, on the far right- Haymarket. The road joining the two is the A8. Roseburn is right in the middle of these, above the Armoury door.
Underneath is the cityscape the messenger boys would have seen, as they entered the park from the West, near what is now the ice rink (although during the war that was a munitions dump).
The text at the bottom spells “The message must get through”, which was the motto of the message boys cycling back and fore between wardens and bomb site. It is intentionally illegible in places, showing the challenge of doing just what it says during wartime. A film of the same name was made in the park in 1941-42 and can be seen at https://movingimage.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=1396&search_term=Roseburn. It was this film that inspired the mural.
Roseburn Park (by Murrayfield Stadium), is so central to the city that during the war it became one of the five locations for the city’s Air Raid Protection against Nazi bombs. Germany dropped over 650 bombs on Edinburgh and the surrounding area and the “Armoury” was built at the beginning of the war to keep us safe. The name was an anomaly, for in reality it housed not weapons, but the volunteers of the City’s civic defence force. Its central location, combined with its easy access from all directions by bicycle, made it the easiest place to get to by messenger youths, sporting a steel helmet, cycling at speed, to relay paper messages from any bombsite to the Armoury, from where the emergency services of ambulances and fire brigade could be co-ordinated.
The work of these civil defence volunteers is commemorated by this mural which was developed in 2019 by Friends of Roseburn Park (FoRP). It is inspired by a short propaganda film made during the war called “The Message Must get Through” that illustrates the teamwork of the messenger youths (who carried the messages on bikes from all corners of the city when bombs fell) and older men and women inside the Armoury, volunteers who worked in reserved occupations or who were too old to be called up to join the armed forces.
The mural came about when FoRP set out to brighten up their austere windowless Armoury building, which now accommodates them, along with Roseburn Primary School football team, the Murrayfield DAFs Cricket Club and the Edinburgh Wanderers Rugby Club. The Armoury was recently awarded Grade B listed building status on account of its unique heritage- for it is an extremely rare surviving example of a WW2 civil defence building. It also sports, on the north wall, a mural celebrating the diverse users of the Park; that mural too, was painted by Zap back in 20011 with help from local children. [More on that here ]
This time FoRP set out to involve both old and young; following two local screenings of the film, several over-50s participated in the June design workshop and on the 29th, 30th and 31st of August they were joined by pupils from Roseburn Primary, Tynecastle High and Craigmount High schools.
FoRP wanted the mural to celebrate the people who helped keep Edinburgh safe through that terrible time, the deadliest conflict in human history. The new mural was funded through a Council grant from the “Local Event Fund” and has involved local residents in its design through screenings and workshops.
NOTE: The Armoury one of the five purpose-built area ARP Report Centres in the city, almost all of them located in parks. They were designed by the City Architect and built by James Miller & Co following instructions in 1941 from the Ministry of Civil Defence, after it became obvious that what had been done at the outbreak of WW2, converting parts of schools for the purpose, wasn’t working. It is the only surviving example of any form of WW2 ARP centre in Scotland; there are also only one or two of this type left in England.
Mural Production Team
Around 55 people were involved in this project and its production over one month in August. They were: (with ages- it was intergenerational, and spanned from 11 to 75)
Artist Kieran Gorman, Zap Graffitti Arts (18-50)
Design Paul Harding (50+), Jane Wood (50+), Pete Gregson (50+
Base Coat Dorothy Farrar and husband (50+), Alex Dickson (18-50), Maureen McEvoy (50+) and grand-daughter Marie (17)
Top Coat Rory O’Connor and 29 other pupils from Roseburn Primary School P7 (11-12), Dylan Robertson (13), Craigmount High school, Martin and 5 pals from Tynecastle High School S6 Art Class (16-17), Alex Dickson (18-50), Isabelle (50+), Uel Morton (50+), Penni McCallum (50+), Jenni McGill (50+), Jane Wood (50+), Val Forbes (50+)
Paint Supply Kim Rowse
Harling Repairs Archie Thorburn of Thorburns Roofing
At the launch With help from Richard Gregson, Laura Howarth, Barbara Knowles, Jennie O-Reilly, Saughton Rec (for the Gazebo), Murrayfield Dafs and Edinburgh Wanderers (for use of their Armoury rooms, electricity, Urn), Cllr Frank Ross, Lord Provost (for cutting the ribbon)
Funding Susan Lanham, City of Edinburgh Council Local event Fund
How it was done
The survey on what residents wanted for the mural was run in April & May- the results are available. Click here to view them The design workshop took place on June 15th.
Here is a picture of the workshop group at the armoury exploring the options, against the west wall, which will see the major work taking place. On the left is Jane Wood, Keiran Gorman of Zap Graffitti Arts and Paul Harding. (Other participants, not in the picture, were Alex Dickson and Pete Gregson).
The Armoury in Roseburn Park was built as a signals report centre for WW2, as part of Air Raid Protection (ARP) measures for civilians against Nazi bombs. Its history came to light a few years ago when Friends of Rosebun Park (FoRP) uncovered a documentary made during the war featuring the building. The film, entitled “The Message Must Get Through” shows how the Armoury served as the nerve centre for squaddies on bikes coming from all parts of the city. In pre-internet days, when even the telephone service was relatively new, messages were carried by hand. Cycling found huge favour in the 30s with cycling clubs established throughout the land and so it was only natural that it became the most reliable and economical way for soldiers to bring messages of bombs hitting Edinburgh, the better to co-ordinate emergency measures. Rosburn Park, then as now, was easily accessible by bike and this location was the natural choice to build a report centre for ARP measures. It may be that this particular site was chosen under the trees to help protect it from Luftwaffe spyplanes and bombers.
The Armoury is of national significance, because it’s the only surviving example in Scotland of an ARP HQ building.
Why a Mural?
The survey FoRP carried out in 2016 is available here. It asked residents what they wanted to see in the park, and FoRP have been addressing those suggestions which found favour. Twelfth on the list was “Sculpture trail or other improvements along the river “corridor” from Roseburn to Saughton Park” – this drew 67% who loved or liked the idea, with 26% saying they didn’t mind it. Only 7% doubted or disliked the idea.
When the Council announced it was seeking bids to its local events fund in January, FoRP thought a mural like this would reflect the building’s uniquely well-documented history. A grant was secured of £3,000 for a mural on the Armoury wall(s), to be produced by ZAP Graffitti of Liverpool. The artist, Kieran Gorman, did the FoRP mural on the north Armoury wall with young people back in 2012. He is from Livingston and lived in Roseburn before moving south. Kieran worked in August 2019 with both old and young on this project (with the accent being on those aged 50+). The design was based on the survey results (see above).
The Film Screening
The film can be seen on the National Library of Scotland Museum of the Moving Image website here. FoRP organised a local screening on Sunday 12th May at the Masonic Lodge of Brotherly Love, 5 Roseburn Gardens, EH12 5NJ. Art et Facts at 19 Roseburn Terrace assisted in giving out tickets.
There had been a previous outdoor screening in December at our carol singing event.
The Mural – consultation
FoRP consulted the community as to which walls on the Armoury should be muralised and what the designs should feature. The detail was then worked out at a brainstorming workshop to be held in Roseburn, on Sat 15th June.
The mural was produced over the summer and launched on the 1st September, to mark the 80th anniversary of the declaration of WW2 and the 74th anniversary of its conclusion, six years later. We wanted the mural to celebrate the people who helped keep Edinburgh safe through that terrible time, the deadliest conflict in human history. That is, what they did in and around the Armoury – and why and how they did those things, to help us survive the air raids. Read more about Air Raid Precautions in the UK in WW2 here
Mural Survey – location and design
Consultation was done primarily through a survey of views, both online and using paper forms. The big questions were – which wall(s) do we want the mural on? Do we want it in black and white, sepia or in colour? Do we want several discrete images or one big image or a big image with different parts (like the existing mural)?
The survey ran from 19th April and closed on the 12th June and for the results, click here to view them . They were published on the 14th June on the FoRP website, on our Facebook page, at the workshop and at the Murrayfield Community Council meeting on the 25th June.
OLD TREES In March, the Council lopped the top off the beech tree by the NE entrance. We knew it was going to happen. The tree has love hearts, etc carved on its trunk and because we asked, the Council has left most of the trunk standing. Also, we wanted it left as a habitat for river wildlife..
NEW TREES The Council have been putting in new trees. One is special.. for into the ruins of the old beech tree by the ping-pong table, we’ve got the Council to plant a Serbian Spruce.
In a few year’s time, it will be somewhere to sing our Xmas carols under… It’s A TREE IN A TREE
FoRP was granted £700 by the West Edinburgh Neighbourhood Partnership which has allowed us to make temporary repairs to the toilet block. We have had the leaking water main fixed, which has caused ponding this past 5 years; this will prevent further deterioration. We gave boarded over the roofing felt and collapsing roof with waterproof board and removed the trees growing out of the roof. And we hace replaced a rotten fascia panel.
These works will make the building wind and watertight as we work to get quotes and funding for its refurbishment into a cafe.