FoMBL Newsletter No 7 Summer 2004

Annual General Meeting:
This will be held on Monday 7 June at 7.30 (note later start time) at the
Catholic Chaplaincy, 23 George Square. There will be a chance to tour the
chaplaincy centre after a talk by Derek Christie about “Bryophytes in the Southside”

Proposed Increase in Membership Fees: At the Committee Meeting on January 9, it was suggested that the annual subscription be increased from £2.00 to £3.00 per year due to the increased costs of running meetings and producing and posting the Newsletter three times a year.

 At the AGM, there will be a vote on whether an increase in the Annual
membership subscription is acceptable. Should the proposal be accepted then the annual subscription will be £3.00 and should be paid as soon as possible to Jo Scott together with the enclosed form at the AGM, or by post.

Constitution change:

The committee would like the members to consider the following change to the constitution. The change concerns the addition of a new class of membership to section four of the constitution that recognises outstanding contributions to the objectives of the Friends.

 4.   Membership.

 "Honorary Life Membership”

There shall be an additional class of membership to be known as "Honorary Life Membership", which will be offered to any individual whom the Friends, on the recommendation of the Management Committee, or by proposal, consider, has made an outstanding contribution to the objectives of the Friends.

The Motion to offer such membership will be proposed at an AGM for approval.

October Meeting:
The next regular meeting of the friends will be on Monday 11 October at 7.30pm at the King’s Theatre, Leven Street.

A  talk and tour of the theatre will be given.

Tree Labels:
We have applied for a Community Grant from the Local Development Committee so that we can place tree labels on some 150 trees in the
Meadows and Bruntsfield Links before the end of the year.  

The labels are about 4x3 inches approximately and will give the species name and the common Scottish name only.  They will be attached to the trees by a small hardened steel nail which will not impair growth or damage the tree. A small spring will be attached to allow for tree growth which in some species can be considerable : Norway Maple, Elm and Sycamore!  

A small cache of spare labels will be retained to allow for wastage and loss over the years but it is intended that these unobtrusive labels will further enrich and inform users of these green spaces.  If this project is successful then we may be able to increase the content of each label with more species specific information.

Attaching these 150 or so labels will take some time and anyone who would like to help could contact Mike Walsh at 667 1708.

Mike Walsh

Quartermile Good Neighbours Relations Group: Representatives of FoMBL meet every two months with Quartermile.  At the Quartermile Good Neighbour Relations Meeting held at 1 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh on Wednesday 28th April 2004 at 7.00pm the following
information was given by Quartermile:

Demolitions: Demolition of the Florence Nightingale Nurses Home is scheduled to start in the last week of May. 

Demolition of the low-level walkway from the Lauriston Building alongside the Florence Nightingale has already taken place.

Erection of scaffolding to the west elevation of the Florence Nightingale has
already started and this will be finished in the next two weeks. The entire building will be covered in Monoflex sheeting before demolition starts.

All asbestos has been removed from this building in advance of demolition.

The Florence Nightingale will have a 3 to 4 month demolition period, but it could come down quicker .

Another 40 weeks of asbestos removal is required across the site

Permitted site working hours are
Monday to Saturday 7am-7pm and no work on a Sunday that can be heard outside
of the site.  At the moment
Quartermile are working weekdays 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 8am to 4pm. If necessary permission will be sought from the Council to extend working hours or to work on a Sunday. This will only be done if absolutely essential and neighbours will be given as much notice as possible.

Arisings from the demolition will be crushed and used elsewhere onsite
wherever possible. This will minimise the number of lorry movements on and off the site to 4-5 per week. Enabling works such as diversions of drains and cutting off  water supplies are being carried out on site in advance of demolition starting.

Digging of the first underground car park is scheduled for  November.

Noise, dust and vibration monitoring All monitoring equipment has been
installed and is fully operational. No major breaches of monitoring levels have been recorded.

Signage : The FoMBL have been working together with the City of Edinburgh Culture and Leisure Department and the Paul Hogarth Company on five signs that will be placed at various places in the Meadows and links. It is hoped that the signs will be erected in late June 2004.

Changes to the Committee

At the AGM, three of the Committee will be standing down, as required by the Constitution.  Jo Scott is prepared to be re-elected to the Committee and to continue to be the Membership Secretary.  However, she wishes to stand down as Treasurer and Hamish McKenzie has kindly agreed to be acting Treasurer, till a new Treasurer is appointed.  Peng Lee Yap is willing to stand again as Chairman but Oliver Chapman does not wish to stand again for the Committee and there is therefore a vacancy for another Committee Member. Additionally, Valerie Boggs wishes to stand down from the committee, leaving another vacancy. We would be keen to hear from anyone before the AGM who is willing to be elected to the Committee especially if they are willing to also act as the Treasurer.  Further details regarding the post of Committee Member can be obtained from the Chairman or Secretary

Bird Boxes: Keep your eyes open for the new bird boxes! You will find them, at a safe (for the birds) height, on many trees in the Meadows. Please let us know if you see any avian activity in the new boxes so that we can update the web site with the news.

We Need New Members: Do you know of anyone who is interested in the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links? Why not ask them along to our meeting on June 7th.


Short-Life Working Group for Meadows and Bruntsfield Links

17 FEBRUARY 2004

Present:- Councillors Henderson (Convener), Cairns, Walker and
Wigglesworth; Hamish McKenzie (Friends of the Meadows); Jim McKay, Ian Hay and Ken McLeod (all Culture and Leisure
Department); and Jane Lockhart (Corporate Services).

Apologies:- Apologies had been received from Herbert Coutts (Director of Culture and Leisure).

1. Minute

The minute of the Working Group of 14 October 2003 was approved as a correct record.

2. Improvement Works to Date - Presentation

Jim McKay outlined the improvements that had been made to the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links and gave details of the work timetabled for the future.

He also explained the history of the area as two of Edinburgh’s most historic parks and their long association with the provision of open space and municipal golf facilities.

The medium term proposals were as

* conversion of the East Meadows play area to magnet play area quality;

* the implementation of Phases 1 and 2 of the tree planting programme, with removal and replacement of diseased trees

*  the resurfacing of pathways/desire lines

* the restoration of historic railings at Leven Terrace/Melville Drive  East; and

*  the repair of boundary walls at Meadow Place.

The 70 new trees planted in Phase 1 of the programme were root balled and bark-mulched with watering tubes and it was confirmed that the 82 trees to be planted in the early part of this year as Phase 2 would be of a similar standard.  This would ensure the best possible  growing conditions and had already proved to be a success in relation to the recently-planted trees’ survival rate.

It was anticipated that grant aid would be available from the World Heritage Trust and Historic Scotland to assist with the cost of the railings’ restoration.

Longer-term proposals included:-

* the implementation of Phase 3 of the tree planting programme

* further resurfacing of pathways

* the development of a new cricket
pavilion/cafeteria/interpretation centre in Jawbone Walk

* the development of a facility tracing the history of golf at Bruntsfield Links

 In addition to the improvements described above, it was confirmed that a
comprehensive drainage system had been installed at the area of the Meadows most commonly used for large events.  A suggestion regarding the provision of a designated area for wheelchairs beside some benches in the Meadows area had also been taken on board.

Five new signs for the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links had been designed by the Friends of the Meadows in conjunction with the department of Culture and Leisure.  It was anticipated that an
unveiling ceremony would be held in late April or early May. Councillor Henderson thanked Jim for his very informative



To note the improvement works completed and the proposed works described.


3.Jogging Track – Melville Drive

Jim McKay confirmed that this would be formalised in due course and would follow the desire line through the trees.

Estimates had been received from companies for the installation of a one mile long, 1.5m wide tarmac, non-slip track, similar to that which existed in
Holyrood Park.  The decision to use this type of surface was as a result of
consultation with running clubs and was preferable to the use of shale as a surface material.


To note the progress made to date.

4. East Meadows Bowling Green

It was reported that the Bowling Green and Pavilion at the East Meadows had been vandalised, with access gained through the building’s roof and severe damage sustained.

There was a comparison between the 420 bowlers who had used the facility during 2003 and the £20,000 it cost to maintain the green: it was confirmed that the cost of reinstating the Bowling Green to a playable standard was around £12,000.  It was agreed that it would be appropriate to relocate the 2004 season’s players at the Croquet Club, a proposal that had been agreed with members of both the Bowling and Croquet Clubs.

In response to a question on the procedure to be followed in relation to the authority required to carry out work of this type, it was confirmed that the
Council’s Executive had agreed that the work be undertaken as part of the
Meadows Plan.

Edinburgh Leisure, who had responsibility for the Bowling Green and Tennis Courts, had no objections to the Bowling Green being ‘de-commissioned’ but would continue to maintain the
associated Pavilion.  Therefore, there would be no plans to reopen the Bowling Green for the 2004 season.

In relation to the East Meadows Play Area, it was noted that part of the funding necessary for the work was in the capital budget and fund raising would take place for the remainder of the finance required. The consultation process discussed at a previous meeting of the Working Group would be implemented in due course.

It was suggested that a public notice be displayed to inform users of the work to be done, thus ensuring a flow of information.


To note the current position.

5. Chain Link Fence Removal – Bruntsfield Links

Jim McKay reported that there had been some railing replacement at Tumbler’s Hollow.  The area along Whitehouse Loan was used by a private nursery during the summer months and it was agreed that black bow-top fencing would be a more appropriate option as this type of fencing would minimise the risk of injury to small children.

The issue regarding the use of Bruntsfield Links by patrons of the Bruntsfield Hotel had been addressed and solved between the Council and the licensee.

In response to an enquiry on the cleaning of signs on display for cyclists, an
undertaking was given that the relevant officer in the City Development
Department would be contacted. It was noted that the Cricket Pavilion would be painted to improve the outer façade and that Quartermile would take responsibility for tree planting, resurfacing and the general upgrade of Middle Meadow Walk.

It was also noted that a new Parks sign would be erected in the area leading from George Square.


To note the current position.

6 Events and Parking 2004

There was some discussion on the need to maintain the current good condition of the Meadows area, although it was acknowledged that common sense should prevail regarding the damage caused by vehicles etc.

It was noted that an events ‘footprint’ would be prepared to ensure the
maintenance of the Meadows area and the prevention of damage by vehicles. It was also planned to review lease conditions to clarify exactly what users would be required to undertake.


To note that the matter be monitored.

7. Any Other Business

1 Naturalised Planting Area

In response to a question from Councillor Cairns on the bare patches of ground caused by fallen leaves not being collected, it was confirmed that the grass at these areas would rejuvenate in the spring growing season.  It was also noted that the cricket squares had been re-turfed in time for the 2004 season.

It was agreed that although the top end of Bruntsfield Links still required attention, the overall standard of the space had improved.


To note the latest position.

2. Working Group Membership

It was reported that South Side Community Council had asked that a
representative be appointed to attend the Working Group.  There was some
discussion on the fact that other Community Councils in the area would have to be afforded the same membership rights if this request were to be granted.  There already existed some, albeit informal, cross-liaison between the Community Councils and Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links and it was agreed that this would be sufficient in the short-term.

8. Date of Next Meeting

Tuesday 11 September 2004 at 11am.

It was noted that the draft minute of this meeting would be circulated to members before the agenda for the next meeting.

A Short History of Bruntsfield Links by Ian Nimmo.

Situation: Bounded by the south side of Melville Drive and extending beyond Whitehouse Loan to Bruntsfield Place, Terrace and Crescent. Area: 36.2 acres (14.661 hectares)

Bruntsfield Links is the easterly part of what was the famous old Borough Muir, wherein 1513 King James IV reviewed his troops before they set off to the fatal field of Flodden.  The Borough Muir or Myre, was gifted to the 'Magistrates, Council and Community of the City' by David I of Scotland and once extended westwards from what is now the Dalkeith Road area Merchiston, and southwards to the Pow Burn.

In those ancient times, not only did the moor abound with oak trees, but outlaws and Edinburgh outcasts made it their home.  It was not a place to be caught after dark, but the Scottish nobility once used it for their hunting ground, when deer and wild boar were plentiful.

"Great stone quarries" are recorded on the site and old Edinburgh Town Centre minutes indicate that one Patrick Carfrae, deacon of the masons, was given permission to dig for stones there in 1599.  Quarrying continued on the Links for at least 200 years and rightful concern was expressed from time to time about their depth and danger.

Up to1878 is was upheld by the magistrates and Council as a portion of Common Good property and in 1741 an important priority was declared in the contract with John Hog, who had been given permission to "dig for stanes" for the refurbishment of tenements at the Luckenbooths.  On no account, he was instructed, must he interfere in any was or on any part of the Links used for "the citizens' diversion and recreation in the golf".

"The Gowf" took precedence over everything, from stopping a road being built through the park to the prevention of exercising horses.  Even Sir Walter Scott, in his capacity as secretary of the Royal Edinburgh Light Dragoons, was informed that drilling his troops on the Links' most hallowed golfing turf would not be permitted.  The Links became the home of several golf clubs, the most ancient being today's Royal Burgess club, which traces its roots back to 1735.

As the city expanded and increasing feus were allocated, first houses and then the streets began to eat into this important green space, until the Edinburgh Improvement Act of 1827 called a halt to the encroachment.  Those dearly-defended 30 acres today are one of the prides of the Bruntsfield area with their splendid presentations of elm, sycamore, maple, ash, lime, white beam and other varieties like cherry, hawthorn, chestnut, crab apple and oak.  They make summer a visual treat.  Apart from a stone seat at the highest point, bearing initials and several dates, the oldest being 1848, there are no reminders of the past other than the popular putting green at Bruntsfield Place.  But like those ancient golfers who swung their way with vigour across the Links that same pleasure of a stroll over one of Edinburgh's green delights continues today for local residents and visitors alike.

Facilities: Short golf course, putting, walks, benches and toilets.  On bus route.  Access for disabled.

From Edinburgh's Green Heritage by Ian Nimmo
Reproduced Courtesy of
The Recreation Department, City of Edinburgh,17 Waterloo Place,
Edinburgh EH1 3BG



 © 2003 Webmaster