Why Botanic Cottage had to move

Dear Spurtle

I have to respond to the letter written by S. May of Warriston Road re the rebuilding of the Botanic Cottage in the RBGE ('Hellish old new-build', 22 December 2015).

The land on which the Cottage stood on Leith Walk had been sold for development and, despite earlier local efforts, it was to be demolished and crushed into the foundations of any new building.

In other words, there was to be no Cottage at all. Prior to demolition, the Friends of Hopetoun Crescent, with incredible support from a number of individuals (many local to Leith Walk) and professional bodies, were awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for detailed archaeological and historical research into this 1763 building. Thanks to many, including the Alba Trust, this was done. A wealth of information was gathered which has added a great deal to our knowledge of the Leith Walk Garden.

With consent from all bodies concerned, including great support from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh,  the Cottage was dismantled, stone by stone, and, along with all the wood parts of the building, removed to the RBGE where it stayed until the rebuilding of the Cottage started in April last year.

Of course, it would have been wonderful to rebuild the Cottage where it stood on the site of the Leith Walk Garden, and to have had it surrounded by lovely green space. But that was just not going to happen.

At least, the Cottage is now being used in the way it was from 1763–1820, as a building for teaching and encouraging an interest in all things botanical rather than lying as crushed rubble underneath a new building.

Eileen Dickie

(FHCG & Botanic Cottage)

Hopetoun  Crescent


 Scott Richards Fair play RBGE. It was a sorry site as a car hire office then laterally a pigeon hotel and graffiti wall.

 Pamela Dobbie Well said!

 David Tant I still think it looks incongruous in the garden. 
A glaring over done carbuncle. 
Just a person of taste with an opinion.

Marc Robertson It looks lovely and as a person with taste and an opinion, it's about as far from a carbuncle as you can imagine.