From the spectacular 1908 Scottish National Exhibition to memorable musical performances at the bandstand, from Saughton House to the sunken Italian garden – Saughton Park has a long and very colourful history.
These days the park is probably most accurately described as a hidden gem. People do enjoy its jewels, including its walled gardens and topiary, tropical plants and variety of roses, as well as amenities such as the sports pitches and skatepark (the largest in Scotland), and events such as the recent Garden Party (organised by Friends of Saughton Park).
But this beautiful park is often overlooked or simply not known to many. Now, following a successful bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, the park is undergoing a complete restoration. You can read more about the project in the park’s Winter Gardens, or on City of Edinburgh Council’s website.
I am working with the Living Memory Association on the heritage part of the project, to uncover more of the social history of Saughton Park. Over the next few months we will carry out research, record oral histories and source photos. Material gathered will then be used in artwork, interpretation panels, publications and social media.
We are currently recruiting volunteers to help us to do research, and record and transcribe interviews with people about their memories of Saughton Park. Volunteers will receive training in reminiscence/interview skills and recording equipment will be provided.
As a volunteer you will play an important role in this project, creating a people’s archive, as well as helping restore Saughton Park to its former glory and making it an even greater community resource. If you are interested in volunteering or have memories to share (or know of someone who does), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07708 799018.
Clockwise from top left: Postcard of the 1908 Scottish National Exhibition; The Cameronians in concert at the bandstand, 1960s; fun at the paddling pools, 1959; Saughton Hall in flames, 1949; topiary in the park; Volunteers at The Living Memory Association, at Saughton Park Garden Party 2016.