As part of Heriot-Watt’s Bicentennial Celebrations, the University recently welcomed members of its local community onto the Edinburgh campus for the Pentland Book Festival.
‘Watt the Walk’ focused on the 200 years of local history, revealing the past of the Riccarton Estate, its original owners and Heriot-Watt University. The walk focused on the books Heriot-Watt University, and Leonard Horner by Patrick O’ Farrell, Our District by John Tweedie and Cyril Jones and on Heriot-Watt’s Heritage, Tree and Discovery Trails. Attendees included retired staff and those who attended Heriot-Watt when it was based at Chambers Street.
The legacy of the Riccarton estate is an intriguing story. For over a hundred years the Gibson Craigs were powerful benefactors in the community, political players in the city and Parliament, and developers of the style and plantings of their Riccarton estate. Their Big House has come and gone and so has the Gibson Craig influence but instead Heriot-Watt has spent the last 50 years here growing both student numbers and a reputation for innovation, science and technology.
The event was led by Liz Beevers, who has worked with Heriot-Watt for a number of years to share our heritage with the local community. The Pentland Book festival is chaired by Prof Cliff Beevers, Emeritus Professor of Heriot-Watt University.
Dr Laura Wicks, Public Engagement Lead, said: ‘It was wonderful to welcome people onto the University grounds again and learn more about the heritage of the campus we walk around each day. There were tales shared of past experiences working and studying at Heriot-Watt, as well as extensive praise for the Estates team who keep the grounds looking beautiful’.
The Pentland Book Festival is in its seventh year, organised by and for the community. For more information visit the Pentland Book Festival webpage. A specially commissioned video by Prof Patrick O’Farrell on the history of Heriot-Watt is also available as part of the University’s Bicentennial celebrations.