Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Rt Hon Lord Provost Frank Ross cut the symbolic ribbon on the historic mural in Roseburn Park which has appeared there over the last three days.

Kieran Gorman of Zap Graffiti Arts, who used to live in the area, undertook the mural to a design agreed upon by the residents at a workshop held earlier in the year.

The Friends were awarded a grant of £3,000 from the council to create the mural which is intended to show the role the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) wardens and the cycle messengers played in keeping the country and city safe.

Pete Gregson of Friends of Roseburn Park, John Shand (seated) who was a cycle messenger in the Second World War accompanied by his friend from Darroch School in Gilmore Place, Margaret Smith whose father was Warden and the Rt Hon Lord Provost Frank Ross. PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter

The event took place at the Armoury which was a Report Centre during the war. A small group gathered in Roseburn Park just a few days ahead of the anniversary of the declaration of war in 1939. The Lord Provost said : “It is quite appropriate to have this building which was commissioned during that war now portraying its history with the mural on one side. This building was built in 1941 and was recently listed by Historic Environment Scotland as it is the only surviving example of a purpose built air raid protection Report centre.”

Margaret Smith whose father worked in the park as the warden during WWII assisted the Lord Provost in cutting the ribbon, and John Shand was a surprise guest. John Shand was a cycle messenger during the war, (a fact which he left to the very last minute to make known). He told The Edinburgh Reporter that he then lived on Castlehill, and he never had to deliver any messages during his time as a volunteer.

The Rt Hon Lord Provost Frank Ross unveils the mural at Roseburn Park depicting its history. PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter

Jock Miller former Chairman of the West End Community Council attended the event. Mr Miller’s grandfather was City Treasurer at the time when the Armoury was built as part of the municipal civil defence programme. There were a few more trees in the park when the Armoury was built, making it a perfect location.

The Lord Provost said that the initiative for this scheme and much of the other improvement work in Roseburn Park comes from the Friends of Roseburn Park. He continued that the mural was partly inspired by a short training and propaganda film made in 1942. This film was shown in the park in December last year at the Carol Singing evening last winter entitled The Message Must Get Through – which is the slogan on the mural. The film can be viewed here online.

The Friends have just set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for their proposals to change the former toilet block into a café. They need £10,000 and if you buy a brick for £10 then you will get a free coffee when it opens. A row of bricks for £50 gets you a whole cake. The other £65,000 will be sought from other charitable donors.

The AGM of the Friends of Roseburn Park will be held on 11 September 2019 at Murrayfield Church Hall at 7.30pm and all are welcome.