28 September 2008

Doors Open Day Edinburgh

Yesterday was Doors Open Day, when many buildings are open to the public that are not normally, and buildings that are normally open have some special events.

First I went to New Register House, where I'd been many times before researching my family tree. There has been some work going on to improve the facilities there, so I wanted to have a look around and ask a few questions. First there was a presentation in the Dome, and then a chance to look at some of the computerised records.

I then went next door to General Register House, which has also been having renovations as part of the same project. I was interested to discover that NRH and GRH will continue to operate separately, as I had imagined that the project would unite the two. GRH has two impressive domes, which I hadn't had a chance to see on previous visits, and behind the building is the newly constructed Archivist's Garden.

After this I walked along Princes Street and then down to the Water of Leith. I had a look around Dean Village, then walked along to St Bernard's Well. There were lots of people waiting for the well to open at 12, and after a few problems with the door we were allowed inside. It is ornately decorated with mosaic tiles covering a domed ceiling, and in the middle is an urn with a handle below that can be used to pump the water. The room was lit only by candlelight.

I then went to the Poetry Library where there was an Artists' Books fair. There were lots of interesting stalls and there was lots of great work by illustrators as well as poets. I bought an illustrated map by Alice Melvin. I also got a free book: Fresh Fruit and Tables by David Bellingham.

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