Edinburgh World Heritage was established on 31st March 1999. It inherited the tradition of work undertaken by two bodies:
At its inception, Edinburgh World Heritage was given the following Terms of Reference by its sponsors, Scottish Government (now via Historic Environment Scotland) and the City of Edinburgh Council:
These have since evolved with the organisation.
We can still enjoy the New Town today because of the efforts of an army of volunteers.
By the 1960s, parts of the New Town were in very bad condition and there was a clear risk that many historic buildings could be demolished. Ironically, it was the modernist architect Sir Robert Matthew who led efforts to save them, using his influence as a government adviser to raise the issue.
An army of architects, surveyors and students organised by the Edinburgh Architectural Association took to the streets to assess the scale of the repairs needed. The results of their hard work were then discussed at a major conference held at the Assembly Rooms in 1970, and the outcome was that the government and the city council decided to act. The Edinburgh New Town Conservation Committee was formed, to offer grants to help home owners with the cost of repairs.
The first completed project was at 23 Fettes Row, and was officially unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1975. Today, the brown plaques which mark the buildings repaired can still be seen throughout the New Town.
The situation in the Old Town, in comparison to the New Town, was much more complex and required a different approach for its rehabilitation.
In 1985, the Edinburgh Old Town Committee for Conservation and Renewal, later to be called the Edinburgh Old Town Renewal Trust, was established to “promote, co-ordinate and publicise action for the conservation and economic and social revival of the Old town of Edinburgh”. There was greater emphasis on the need to stimulate social and economic regeneration.
Visit our Projects page to see highlights of our work.