Sunday, August 02, 2009

Thomson's Tower

It's Edinburgh's secret! Dr Neil's Garden can be found beside Duddingston Loch, next to the twelfth-century Duddingston Kirk, in the heart of Edinburgh. It was created in 1965 by Dr Andrew Neil and Dr Nancy Neil on a patch of waste ground near their medical practice. The garden itself is a treasure (and I'll post more about it hopefully in the future), but within the confines is a building of immense significance for the sport of curling.

In the garden is Thomson's Tower, designed by William Henry Playfair, and built in 1825 as the 'curling house' for the Duddingston Curling Society. It was a place for the members to gather and to store their stones.

Dr Neil's Garden Trust
has restored the Tower, with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland. It was officially opened on Friday.

The lower floor is devoted to an exhibition celebrating curling past and present. More detail of this is on the Curling History blog here.

Jim Baird is Chairman of Dr Neil's Garden Trust.

Guests listened to short speeches by Jim Baird and by Nigel Neil, son of the garden's founders.

Robin Aitken, World Senior Curling Champ in 2007 and a member of the current Scottish Senior champions team, had the honour of performing the official opening.

And here he is, cutting the tape!

It takes very special people to make projects like this happen. Ian Seath has devoted years of his life to the restoration project. Friday was a special day for him. Many congratulations, Ian.

For details of when the garden and Thomson's Tower are open, see here.

More of my photos of the Thomson Tower are here.

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