Sutherland Forsyth, the recently appointed Community Engagement Coordinator for the Botanic Cottage, will be working at RBGE for the next three years. He has written this update for the Friends:‘There will have been moments when the prospect of the Botanic Cottage being saved – let alone rebuilt – will have seemed like a distant prospect, a dream which might never become reality, scuppered by ‘life’ getting in its way. However, today we stand just weeks away from ground being broken and the Botanic Cottage rising like a phoenix from the ashes in its new home in the Botanics Demonstration Garden. We’re well on the way to reaching our fund raising goal, with £1.3m now pledged, including a large contribution from the Heritage Lottery Fund.Later this Spring not only will building work have begun, but public and community engagement programming connected with the cottage will have started, and all going well, a dig of the old cottage site on Leith Walk will have helped us to understand even more about the history of this unique building.
I’ve already met some of the Friends of Hopetoun Crescent Garden and I hope to meet many more in the future – your role in saving the cottage means that you will always be an important part of its story, and as the keepers of the last surviving part of John Hope’s Leith Walk garden, you are helping to preserve a living link with RBGE’s past.Over the next few months there will be a range of activity connected with Botanic Cottage taking place, some of which I hope you will be able to be involved with. The community archaeological dig of the Leith Walk site (date to be confirmed – but likely to be in late March/early April) will give people the chance to get ‘hands on’ with history – if you are at all interested in having a go at being an archaeologist, or with helping us with this event, please do let me know and I can give more information. firstname.lastname@example.org Do also look out for the little shed which will be appearing later this Spring in the Demonstration Garden at RBGE, in which you will hear a sounds-cape featuring some familiar voices talking about Botanic Cottage, as well as information about the project to rebuild it.
If you fancy getting your walking shoes on, jumping onto a bike or hopping on a bus, then in April you can make use of our new ‘Medical Map’ of Edinburgh, which connects many of the historic sites in the city connected with medicine, including the site of the old Leith Walk Botanic Garden, and which will be available at the Botanics. There is much more activity planned, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, as Botanic Cottage is coming…!‘