The local area has, for an urban setting, a surprising number of historical stones such as the Caiy Stane (reputed to be 3,000 years old); the Buckstane (near where the Buckhounds were unleashed when the King went hunting) and the Bore Stone (where the Standard was raised to muster the army which was to fall at Flodden Field). No more than one hundred meters from the Bore Stone sit a much more modern addition – the Church Hill Milestones – which also attempt to capture history.
The Milestones are a pair of attractive pink and black granite pillars standing guard outside the Church Hill Theatre. Each pink granite block in inscribed with various pictorials reflecting local luminaries, life and events. The smaller black granite blocks are inscribed with the place names of the local areas and villages now long time absorbed into the City – Greenhill, Merchiston, Boroughmuir, Church Hill, Morningside, Tipperlin.
Interesting pictorials represent memories of local people such as John Napier – a doo (dove) representing a famous occasion when Napier prevented neighbours doo’s from stealing his corn by getting them drunk. The industry of locals is shown by a weavers shuttle for the linen spinners of Tipperlinn and a busy bee for Napier University and the Internet.
The old parody of Morningside life is interpreted by a piano in the parlour and a kipper in the kitchen. An Egyptian cat echoes the use of exotic names in local streets (Egypt Mews?). A burning bush stands for the churches at Holy Corner. Miss Prism’s handbag from the “Importance of Being Earnest” by Noel Coward commemorates the first performance held in the Church Hill Theatre. On close inspection the Bore Stone itself is in evidence!
So what is the story behind the erection of the modern stones? The Church Hill Theatre forecourt was upgraded in 1994 and a sum of money was set aside to commission a work of art in accordance with the then Edinburgh District Council’s policy a the time. Following a public meeting at the Theatre in November 1994, the Church Hill Theatre Public Arts Group was formed (specifi cally for the duration of the project and now disbanded) and in partnership with Edinburgh District Council oversaw the selection process which commissioned Kenny Munro an Ormiston based sculptor, artist and educator to carry out the work. The unveiling ceremony took place in August 1995. The work is definitely worth a quick inspection the next time you are passing!