The Twitter tourism chat, #ScotlandHour, takes place on the last Wednesday of each month, with a set topic and some questions to encourage participation from tourism people and visitors throughout the world.
As one of the founding hosts, I take my turn a couple of times a year to lead the chat and encourage people to join in by suggesting questions and working on answers. You can read the schedule of chats for this year, and the current month’s set questions by visiting the website, scotlandhour.com.
In October 2014, our theme is history and heritage, which we’d promised to set as a theme when the team were invited to the Scottish Parliament back in March 2013 to be recognised for using new tools to promote tourism.
This week, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to several events which involve visiting some of the amazing buildings which form part of our built environment and indeed our history and heritage around Edinburgh.
First of all, the School of Marketing, Tourism and Languages at Napier University had been doing some analysis on blogging for festivals and events, and were presenting the results to a group of people who are involved in staging such entertainments throughout Scotland. I’ll cover this in a later post, because for this topic I’m interested in the building in which the presentation was held.
I was delighted to meet Eleanor Livingstone of StAnza Poetry festival just as we entered the Craiglockhart building, as we realised at the same moment that the Rivers Suite towards which we were headed was named for the doctor who had treated patients including the War Poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and we were both thinking about the Pat Barker Regeneration Trilogy which had covered this period so evocatively. The Craiglockhart Campus, as it now is, is an interesting blend of the old and new. There is a striking pod connecting the older parts of the building where conferences and meetings are held with the newer student quarters for teaching and study. The views towards the city are tremendous, and particularly as autumn turns the leaves and the light is soft. There’s a small museum area holding works by the poets as well as some artefacts which describe the former uses of the building including a silk banner printed with tourist information for residents of Edinburgh Hydropathic as the building was once known.
The following day I headed to another building with an interesting history, now known as the Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace. It was formerly 7 distinct townhouse residences. The reason for visiting was that the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) was hosting a presentation by Edinburgh World Heritage to encourage tourism providers to make more of the status of Edinburgh as a World Heritage site. ETAG was also launching the Business Guide to help businesses make the most of our World Heritage. Crowne Plaza had done just that – collaborating with Edinburgh World Heritage to produce a guide which their visitors could either download or purchase as a booklet to learn more about the history of the houses and the former residents.
After the short presentation about the project, we were given a tour of the hotel by the hotel manager, including visiting the gardens to the rear of the hotel which lead up to the Calton Hill private gardens shared by the nearby residents. The garden is a lovely space which non-residents may use if they wish to take a drink outside, or perhaps afternoon tea. I’ll be recommending it to guests at Craigwell Cottage!
Later the same day, I was invited to hear about a new project taking place within the bounds of Edinburgh’s Old Town, in Roxburgh’s Court, which is a small square between Roxburgh’s and Warriston’s Closes. There has been a development going on in the area which now houses the Old Town Chambers luxury serviced apartments, new restaurants, bars and 3 offices. The developers, The Chris Stewart Group, have worked with the Edinburgh College of Art and the City of Edinburgh Council to invite groups of students to participate in a project to create a destination within Roxburgh’s Court which would encourage visitors to explore the space and provide a reason to venture into the space. On Wednesday 1 October 2014, the 9 entries go on public display at The Devil’s Advocate in Advocate’s Close and Zizzi in Roxburgh’s Court. You can read more about this and vote on which entry you like best by visiting Roxburgh Court Art Project (http://www.lateralcity.com/
All this activity (crammed into the last two days) gives me encouragement that the October #ScotlandHour on the subject of History and Heritage is going to be a lively topic for discussion. If you want to get involved, please head over to the Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/