It was Open Doors in Edinburgh last weekend so I went along to a few new and some more familiar places for a look around. I wonder whether the popularity of these events lies in the opportunities to find out about the histories and uses of buildings that are usually closed to the public? Or whether an equally important factor is the ability to have a snoop around?
I enjoyed a trip up to Newhaven to see the renovation project of an old station which was closed in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. North Edinburgh is now well served with cycle routes thanks to the sensible decision to turn the old railway lines into cycle/pedestrian provision.
I couldn’t resist taking a trip to the University of Edinburgh Library. This is a place that I have the opportunity to visit on a regular basis (as a member of staff), though this is something I rarely do. It was good to mooch around ‘off duty’ but I was slightly disappointed that the University didn’t do more to promote it’s rich architectural heritage. There were no information boards or any other indication as to why the building might be of interest. This was a Basil Spence Partnership design, completed in 1967. When it opened it was the largest university library in Britain. It is now A-listed. Surely that’s worth promoting? For further information see the Basil Spence Archive Project.