This year marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town, and the publication of John Byrom’s much-awaited manual on the gardens that are so integral to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The book is the result of decades of research, providing detailed guidance on the long term management and maintenance of Edinburgh’s 47 circus, square, crescent and informal grid-edge gardens that has remained previously unpublished.
These gardens are very special, specifically designed to add colour and vibrancy to the city’s urban landscape – lush green contrasts to the classical sandstone architecture. They not only contribute aesthetically to Edinburgh’s ‘outstanding universal value’, they are also communal spaces, looked after and enjoyed by the residents of the surrounding buildings.
It is an essential item for garden management committees, but the book has a wider purpose to inform an interested public and academic readership beyond Edinburgh. John has been providing advice and support on garden landscapes for many years, and with the publication of this book, his research and advice is available in perpetuity. In fact, the need for a publication of this type to be made publicly available was first identified over 30 years ago.
Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, an independent charity with the aim of ensuring the city’s World Heritage status is a dynamic force that benefits everyone, has provided funding for this publication, along with Edinburgh Decorative & Fine Arts Society. We are looking for support from the public to help us with the contribution.
The book is being published by The Word Bank, a not-for-profit community-focused venture. As such, John will receive no payment or royalties, and should sales of the book exceed anticipated numbers and generate a profit, these funds will be ploughed straight back to support the community of Edinburgh, via The Word Bank and the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust.
John Byrom is a landscape architect and former Director of the Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. In the 1960s, John was commissioned to appraise the condition of Edinburgh’s New Town Gardens by the Civic Trust and was part of the survey which led to the creation of the Edinburgh New Town Conservation Committee. The work also became the basis of his late wife, Connie Byrom’s book The Edinburgh New Town Gardens (Birlinn, 1995).
He was subsequently commissioned by Edinburgh World Heritage Trust to produce a handbook in response to a perceived need for professional advice on their appropriate maintenance and replanting of the New Town gardens. The project was overseen by a steering group chaired by Professor David Ingram, former Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
The finished product will be a beautiful, colour hardback book. Please see the various reward levels on the right for more details.