Paolozzi sculptures rehomed ahead of top of Leith Walk overhaul

THREE popular pieces of art have been removed from their home in the heart of a bustling junction while work is carried out to redevelop the area.

Tom Farmer lends a hand as the Paolozzi Sculptures are moved from outside St Mary's Cathedral at the top of Leith Walk. Picture: Scott Louden

The treasured Paolozzi sculptures have now been whisked away from public view while the busy interchange, which connects Broughton Street, Leith Walk and York Place, is given an overhaul.

The Paolozzi sculptures have been temporarily removed from outside St Mary’s Cathedral and will be placed in the gardens between London Road and Hillside Crescent.

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The pieces of art, also known as the Manuscript of Monte Cassino, comprise of an ankle, hand and foot. They were gifted to the Capital by Sir Tom Farmer in the early 1990s and depict the destruction that war brings and a message of peace, hope and regeneration.

Sir Tom was on hand yesterday to supervise the ankle and foot being uprooted - while the hand was moved on Tuesday.

He said: “I was delighted to donate these magnificent sculptures to Edinburgh back in the 1990s and am glad they have become so popular in the years since.

“Of course I am keen for them to return to the area outside the cathedral once the works are complete and I am pleased to hear that, rather than going into storage, they will remain on public display in the interim.”

The Leith stones and Sherlock Holmes statue is also being temporarily moved while the top of Leith Walk is refurbished.

The Leith stones will be temporarily homed at Hillside Crescent gardens, while the Sherlock Holmes statue, a tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle who born at Picardy Place in 1869, will be looked after by firm, Black Isle Bronze before finding a new home at Picardy Place.

The Sherlock Holmes statue has been moved from its Picardy Place home in the past. The bronze work needed to be shifted for three years while tram works took place before being returned home in August 2012.

Transport and environment convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, is pleased the public will be able to enjoy the statues in their traditional homes once the refurbishment work has been completed.

She said: “During the latest phase of our consultation on the Picardy Place proposals, the desire to maximise public space has come across very strong and the revised designs will clearly reflect this.

“The opportunity that this would present for the much-loved Paolozzi statues to remain in the area longer term has been viewed as a big plus by the local community.”

The Picardy Place plans will be discussed and considered at a special transport committee meeting on January 25.