Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A short weekend in Edinburgh

From a short weekend in  Edinburgh, Scotland we were able to see a lot of great sites. The streets were full of people and street performers juggling chainsaws knifes and hand grenades. However even with all this going on, the streets still presented a feeling of somewhat dead and cold and dirty from the industrial era in comparison to Sheffield.  This may be due to most of our time spent in Sheffield being in the Gold Route that the Sheffield City Council started in 1994, which recognised Sheffield’s ‘Gold Route’ as a series of spectacular spaces and streets, centred on the Heart of the City project, which has come to symbolise the city’s economic and cultural renaissance. It is a network that takes a visitor arriving at the station to the University of Sheffield Campus. This important axis links the two universities and was first identified in the 1994 City Centre Strategy. Much new development is taking place along its length and where it crosses Sheffield’s main shopping spine defines the ‘Heart of the City’. (Sheffield City Centre Public Realm) This axis has created the life within Sheffield developing bright vibrant clean streets full of life and culture creating a place you want to stop and spend time in created majorly, by the presence of the two Universities. However from walking\getting lost there are many streets that still have the dark, dingy and unsafe and unclean feel about them in Sheffield. Is Edinburgh missing this axis that the universities create? Or is it was separates the city from other places such as Sheffield since it still retains most of the street scape that was present during the industrial time. Is this character what makes Edinburgh so great and contain a enriched historic feel?

Continuing our tour around Edinburgh and learning historical stories behind some of grand buildings and names. It created a connection to Edinburgh, seeing the sites was great, but without the understanding of why the building is there or what they were trying to accomplish by building it, it means nothing beside a pretty photo.  e.g.; Margaret Dickson in 1724 was married to a man in Edinburgh needless to say it was an unhappy marriage and as there was no divorce back then so she left to a nearby town working at an inn. She loved cooking and cleaning at the inn, however she loved the inn's son a little bit too much and fell pregnant. She concealed her pregnancy so she would not lose her job, seven month later she gave birth, the baby only survived a few minutes. She buried the baby in the fields nearby however she was caught burying the new born and taken back to Edinburgh where she was found guilty of concealing her pregnancy! (Not infidelity to her husband). She was found guilty and sentenced to be hung. Her body was cut down and taken away in a coffin on a cart to be buried. During this trip the driver of the cart had stopped as heard noise coming from the back of the carriage. This noise was Margaret; she was not dead. The driver rushed her back to be hung again until one man shouted from the crowed double jeopardy, saying she has already suffered the punishment of her crimes. As hasn’t committed any more crimes since reviving we must let her go and so they did. She went on to live another 25 years with the inn keepers son as her first marriage vows were 'death do us part' she was therefore no longer married. The most surprising part about the story that even back then they knew and understood double jeopardy but still punished women for concealing pregnancy. A pub has been named after in the Grass Markets.

We learnt Edinburgh also called the Athens of the North! As during the 1700's this type of architecture was a  way of expressing wealth, power and prestige.
Keep your ears and eyes open as you will see things in a different light every day and if you're going to hear the great things they have to say, you will need your ears wide open as the, biggest problem besides the weather, is the accents. You'll have the time of your life, I know I am.
- Jacinta Morrissey (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)