We're delighted to have been told that we have won the Association of Heritage Interpretation's 2021 Engaging People Community Engagement Award, against some seriously strong competition from museums and UK-wide organisations. Credit goes to everyone who has been involved in The Colinton Tunnel Mural in any way - our talented Art Team, led by Chris Rutterford; our heritage intereter, Ann Tweedie; every single volunteer who scraped, brushed or painted the tunnel walls and, of course, all of the young people in the schools that painted parts of the mural; the Pentlands Art Club and the Army's Welfare Service at Dreghorn Barracks. Our team of Trustees, largely invisible in the background, did the planning and created the environment to make this stunning project happen. Thank you to you all and, of course, to the AHI's judges who read our application and visited the tunnel. We suspect that you enjoyed what you saw! Finally, thank you to everyone who made a financial contribution to this project - we really couldn't have done it without you.
We now go forward to the finals of the AHI's Engaging People Award, the winners of that being announced on 18th November. Keep everything crossed!
We've been busy again, adding lots more detail at the Colinton end of the tunnel (and there's still more to come), as well as doing major repair work to the Blue train on the wall outside the tunnel at the Slateford end, which was water-damaged during winter. We've taken a different approach to materials this time, and hope that it will work. For a few days, though, the entire crowd was lying inside Chris Rutterford's van before we washed them down and re-hung them. Can you see the difference between the first train and the new one? Subtle improvements have been made.
A collection of 11 stunning gift cards features all of your favourite images from the mural, as well as the winning pictures from our photography competition. At only £2.80 each, they are great for everyday use or why not buy the entire set for £20 as you prepare for Christmas? A mixed pack of five is also available for £10. There are no p&p charges in the UK. Here's how they look, and their details (individually packed, with envelopes):
Our Military tea towels remember every regiment to have been based here since Redford Barracks was built in 1919. The cap badges were all drawn by our resident artist, Eddie Banks (Banks.e to his friends!), and are screen-printed on top quality cotton fabric. They don't just look great - they also dry dishes! At just £10 each and with free postage they are also great value. Check out souvenir tea towel prices online or in shops to confirm that.
Stunning pictures from our photography competition!
The overall winner was Erin Bain, whose photo is featured here and on one of our new gift cards (see above). There were also three runners-up, but four pictures (you'll see why when you see them!). Well done everyone! The first runner-up was Caroline Chatwin, whose child was literally scrambling and clambering (mind the paintwork!). It's also available on a gift card. Here are Erin's and Caroline's entries:
The second runner-up was Trevor Pake, whose two images share the award as they feature almost the entire tunnel's length. Our final runner-up was Lynda Kazimoglu with her enchanting photograph of two young ladies - featured on another gift card. I wonder if they knew that they were standing in front of a picture of our Lead Muralist's Mum, June Rutterford?
TV and radio coverage
Laura Alderman from STV came back to celebrate the imminent completion of painting. Her lovely report was broadcast on STV's Six o'clock News on 21st October and you'll find it on our home page. A longer version of Laura's report was also broadcast throughout the UK on ITV's "All Around Britain" programme - a real credit to Laura, to our art team and to the project as a whole. Laura had also spent time with us in February, seeing Army families painting their contribution at Dreghorn Barracks and filming in the tunnel. She also took a bike ride through and reminisced about how scary it was when she used to ride through as a child with her friends.That first report was broadcast on the STV News on 6th March 2020. If you're on the home page, you'll find several other enjoyable videos, including a new one by the talented Dode Allen - enjoy it!
Armed Forces TV and BFBS Radio's Jim Gellatly also recorded our work with Army families during February.
We were delighted to have Hope Webb, from BBC Scotland, with us on Monday 11th November 2019. Her piece was broadcast on "The Nine" that evening and attracted lots of positive comments as well as over 100,000 views. It's available on BBC iPlayer for a while, but there are other versions available, including this short edit: BBC Scotland, "The Nine", 11.11.19.
Money and more - please help us to maintain the mural and to run engagement events!
Fundraising is still a major priority for us but, as we approach completion, we're really thinking about how we can maintain Scotland's most signficant heritage mural into the future and run events for schools, other groups and the wider public. Thanks to some recent generous donations including The Turtleton Trust and National Lottery Awards for All, we're now just over 90% of the way to our target of £100,000 and have nearly enough to finish the mural, but not enough to fund our plans for the future.
Big thanks go to local residents, who continue to make generous individual donations (many using the Government's Gift Aid scheme to boost their donation by 25%). Overall, local people and other visitors are our major source of funding. We are hugely grateful to Sustrans, who recently awarded us a further grant of £5,000 to take us towards completion. Thanks also to the the Currie and Balerno News, the Armed Forces Covenant Trust, Turtleton Trust, National Lottery Awards for All, Virgin Money Foundation, Currie, Balerno & District Round Table (CBDRT), City of Edinburgh Council (Community Grants Fund), The Mushroom Trust, the Educational Institute of Scotland Arts Fund, Cruden's, the Co-op, and all other funders. Keep it coming! Please also contact us if you become aware of any grants, trust funds or corporate donors that might support us.
The whole project has been carried out by a multi-skilled team of muralists led by Edinburgh-based Chris Rutterford, the RLS poem having been painted by our resident street artists, Craig Robertson and Duncan Peace. They were helped by young people and other volunteers from throughout our community - see "Community" further down this page. The design concept, based on a short poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, is hugely exciting and stimulating. It is a visual description of the delight of a child's rail journey, which also links to various elements of Colinton's history.
The detailed designs were shown to our community in two exhibitions and details were given in publications that reached more than local 6,000 residents before we began. LED lighting, completed in June 2019, transformed the tunnel, made it feel much safer for users and shows the mural to best effect. Since starting work, we've kept our community up to date through regukar articles in local publications, as well as in national press, and via this site and our growing social media presence.
As we approach completion we are now thinking about maintaining this stunning artwork into the future, so please keep donating. You can give electronically, either direct to our bank (see our Giving page) or just click the button below to go to our electronic donations page. Thank you!
Community engagement is hugely important to us. Nearly 600 young people from five local schools and various youth groups have already been involved with the project, as well as members of the Pentlands Art Club. Magic! The brilliant idea was that, by using marine plywood boards, we were able to take the mural to the community - rather than everyone having to come to the tunnel. That approach also enabled us to address problems with the few wet areas inside the tunnel, another big benefit. Tiphereth's mighty "Peregrines" group did wonderful surface preparation work - thank you! Thanks also to SAMH Redhall Walled Garden, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust volunteers, Sustrans volunteers and the mighty men of Boroughmuir Rugby Club for helping with surface prep and associated work. You may also have spotted the stunning new dry-stone bench, commissioned by the Colinton Amenity Association and built by SE Scotland Drystone Walling Association. That forms part of a wider package of measures, including wildflower planting, that are part of the local organisations' collective plan to bring visitors to enjoy Colinton. It's already working!