15 December 2016
An internationally-important seat of learning from the Scottish Enlightenment which fell into dereliction and was painstakingly dismantled to be reconstructed two miles across the capital has received the royal seal of approval. Simultaneously the oldest and newest building at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), the incredible Botanic Cottage has been officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal this (Thursday) morning.
Saved for the nation by a community campaign, the Georgian cottage was reconstructed with express intention of nurturing public engagement. It was, therefore, highly appropriate that those welcoming Her Royal Highness included school pupils and community groups. Volunteers from the Edible Gardening Project were on hand, as were the community activists who fought for the building to be saved, those involved with the reconstruction and RBGE staff who had roles to play in the venture. Main funders, including representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund were also introduced. Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Thanks to players of the National Lottery, Botanic Cottage has a new lease of life. It will be a lively, welcoming hub where young and old, many with more challenges in life than others, can be inspired by these wonderful gardens and collections. We are delighted to have played our part in this project and look forward to seeing Botanic Cottage blossom.”
The Princess was hosted by Regius Keeper Simon Milne MBE who introduced her to key people in the building’s recent history, from its rescue on Leith Walk in 2008 through the wholesale move and traditional rebuild to those who have established it as a new centre for community and education work at the Garden’s Inverleith site.
Mr Milne commented: “The completion of the Botanic Cottage is such a wonderful achievement for everyone involved in getting the building from Leith to Inverleith and bringing it back to life as a focus for education and community work. Today has provided well-deserved recognition to the team and we were all delighted to have had the opportunity to welcome The Princess Royal.”