Thousands Visit Restored Nelson and Burns Monuments

Submitted by edg on Wed, 30 Sep '09 10.17pm

Edinburgh City Council has reported thousands of visitors on Doors Open Day 2009, held the past Saturday and Sunday.

In particular, the newly restored and reopened Nelson Monument and Burns Monument were busy throughout the day on Saturday (26 September), drawing crowds of some 2,000 visitors and residents between them.

The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill saw costumed actors performing sketches based on the monument's history, and visitors also helped local artist Hannah Ayre construct a huge picture of a ship's compass on top of Calton Hill.

Meanwhile the Burns Monument on Regent Road was transformed into an impromptu performance space for the day, with volunteers reciting poetry and singing songs.

The Assembly Rooms in George Street had more than 500 visitors on Saturday, while the Church Hill Theatre - open this year for its first ever Doors Open Day on Sunday - was visited by around 200 people.

Approximately 1,000 people toured the city's five historic World Heritage Site graveyards (St Cuthbert's, Greyfriars Kirk, Canongate Kirk, Old Calton and New Calton Burial Grounds), and St Bernard's Well beside the Water of Leith welcomed 500-plus visitors.

Puppet shows on Scottish history by Hamish the Highlander and friends were a great success at the Museum of Edinburgh throughout the weekend, and around 500 people took up the opportunity of a guided tour of Lauriston Castle in Cramond Road South.

The Central Library also entertained large numbers of visitors, with tours of the building and discussions including one led by renowned city architect Malcolm Fraser proving particularly popular.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convenor, said: "I'm delighted - but not at all surprised - that our monuments and attractions were inundated with visitors this weekend. It's especially welcome that the Burns and Nelson Monuments proved such a hit since they have both only just reopened to the public after being painstakingly restored as part of the Twelve Monuments Project by the Council and Edinburgh World Heritage."

David Hicks, Communications Manager for Edinburgh World Heritage, said Doors Open Day had been "fantastic".

"Doors Open Day is always a special event, not just in allowing a free view inside some magnificent buildings, but also in enabling people to re-discover the beauty of their city."