Novel idea for writer's old haunt

LOST in thought, with a book and his dog for company, a young Robert Louis Stevenson sits outside the parish church on Edinburgh's Dell Road.

The new bronze statue of Stevenson as a child is part of a massive art project celebrating the history of Colinton and its links with the author, which is set to be given the green light next week. The 100,000 art trail has been recommended for approval at a city council planning meeting next week.

Stevenson visited Colinton regularly as a boy to see his grandfather, Dr Lewis Balfour, a minister who lived at Colinton Manse. The art project will guide visitors through the village to the parish church via a series of installations and examples of the writer's work.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Colinton Community Conservation Trust applied for listed building consent and planning permission earlier this year. If councillors approve the application, trust members will begin fundraising.

One of the trust's directors, Duncan Campbell, said: "There is still a long way to go because we have to start fundraising to raise the money, which will be in the region of 100,000.

"We couldn't start fundraising until we got planning permission, so this is a very important first step."

Mr Campbell, a retired landscape architect, added: "It will increase the attractiveness and interest of Colinton. The project is about demonstrating aspects of Colinton's history in a visual and artistic way, and part of that rich history includes Robert Louis Stevenson's association with the village."

The trail would begin at the triangle garden alongside Woodhall Road with ornamental railings depicting a timeline and scenes from Colinton's past.

Engraved into the pavement would be a line from Stevenson's poem Keepsake Mill, "Here we shall meet and remember the past". At the entrance to the parish church would be the new bronze statue of Stevenson as a child.

Several artists have worked on ideas for the trail. Sculptor Jack Sloan has designed the railings, Colinton resident Ian Boyter has designed poetry panels and Alan Herriott of Endeavour Art Studios has designed the bronze statue.

Head of planning at the council, John Bury, said: "The proposals to replace the existing unattractive municipal railings with ones crafted and designed by local artists will enhance the character of the conservation area."