Barbara McNaught, Carolyn Walker, Ellen-Raissa Jackson, Barbara Blows, Lise Tole, Iain Wilson, Magnus Hagdorn.
Tony Harris, Hazel Dunne, Morag and Robin MacCormick, Dennis Smith. The group sent our best wishes to Robin MacCormick for a speedy recovery.
BB reported that several people had contacted us about finding relatives’ graves, including some who had been on the Snowdrop Walk. We also had an enquiry about re-erecting a headstone. She has directed people to Dennis/Mortonhall where appropriate.
Edinburgh Graveyard Friends are holding a meeting 27 March, which BB plans to attend. Developments in other groups - a rare Purple Elm has been found at Warriston. Warriston has also secured funding for an autism community project. Old Calton has been given a neighbourhood project grant. May 11-19 is cemeteries week. Greenspaces group meeting mostly focused on Midmar paddock.
We had a further contact about dog incidents in the cemetery. ERJ raised this with the police at GPCC and was told that people should call 101 to report incidents. CW had been told to contact the environmental dog warden and found that this was more effective. It was decided that ERJ would add a note to the information in the cemetery to let people know the number to call. ERJ to send to MH to post on the website.
Dog waste bags in the leaflet holder - BB shared an idea for a waste bag dispenser. She will ask her daughter in law to make one that we can attach to the post with cable ties - hopefully we can encourage dog walkers to use this, rather than our holder!
More than 50 people came on a cold, but sunny day. Most people were local, but many were first-time visitors, which is very encouraging. We got lots of positive feedback - people were encouraged to come in by the large banner and having seen the posters. The map could be improved (MH and ERJ to work on this) and we might use arrows to confirm the route next time. The snowdrops were just at the end of their best, but by chance, the walk was at the end of the Scottish snowdrop festival. It was agreed that the date for the walk next year should not move too much, but should coincide with that festival, so that we can also take advantage of shared advertising. BMcN and ERJ thanked all the volunteers for their work in preparation and on the day.
The group noted their thanks to Sally and Nigel Griffiths for funding posters and the new information flyers. ERJ to draft a thank you email, with draft flyer attached, BB to polish and send.
The bid for a grant to buy secure storage for tools (site tool box), in order to allow us to set up weekend working parties and widen our group of volunteers was successful. Catherine Blythe has kindly indicated that she might be interested in running the weekend working parties.
ERJ has contacted EUSA for possible student volunteers, but the suggestion was they might one more interested in a one-off project, rather than a longer-term commitment.
Issues - size and location of the tool store. There was a discussion of two possible locations - it was agreed that BMcN and DS would approach the Mackays to discuss where they think might be appropriate. ERJ to again request a meeting with Gareth Edwards about possible locations.
BB undertook to ask the Edinburgh Graveyard Friends group where other groups store their tools.
BB also suggested the catacombs as a possible location for the tool store, if we paid for opening and securing the gate. This might have safety issues. MH to chase the university group on their conclusion from the geophysical survey.
It was again agreed to have further discussion on long-term plans at the next committee meeting.
There was some discussion of a need for an overall tree strategy at the cemetery. IW raised the question of the white cross on a mature tree at the southern end - ERJ to ask Forestry Service about this.
BMcN reported that the two previous working parties had done some excellent work, but that numbers of volunteers are dropping for various reasons.
Planting planning - CW suggests that we take our time to clear out bramble and nettle roots in the area by the north end of the Catacombs in preparation for the new planting.
Tree planting - Janet Sideway has donated two new malus trees (one white and one red blossomed). These will need to be staked - we can possibly use the stakes from the birch planting, but ERJ to ask the Inch if they can lend us some. JS has emailed Gareth asking for permission to plant them at the south end.
Next working party - Clearing nettles and bramble roots - bring spades and forks.
BMcN brought mock-ups of what a general information leaflet might look like and asked for suggestions. There was some discussion about what the leaflet is for - emphasising the cemetery as a greenspace/advertising its trees and wildlife/recruiting volunteers for the working parties. It was agreed that the Friends of Warriston leaflet was a good model.
The group agreed to - a single folded A4 sheet, a photo from the entrance gate, looking towards the roundel, highlighting the trees to go on the front (MH to take photo in April/when there are more leaves), a map (correct orientation) on the reverse, pictures on the inside, with information on the folds. PDF to go on the website.
Any further suggestions to be sent to ERJ or BMcN. We will aim to produce this in the autumn.
There was a brief discussion of places that leaflets could be put - Summerhall, the library, Nelson Hall, the Inch etc.
ERJ met Alan McKinney and discussed the potential to move the work of the community payback team from the Grange to Newington. Issues raised were suitable graves (cannot be more than 5ft or too broken/complicated), cost of moving the container, location for the container. The project also needs to evaluate its financial position. ERJ noted that FONC are interested in the potential for this and agreed that we should set up a meeting with the CPT manager once the other issues are resolved.
IW shared potential wording and cost for a brass sign for the memorial tree. FONC agreed to fund the shortfall from a recent small donation.
CW had visited the Scots graveyard in Calcutta where there was an interesting project to lay fallen headstones on marble, at a slight angle. Dr Neeta Das, a conservation architect, is visiting Edinburgh to give a lecture in April and wants to visit the cemetery, with Susan Falconer on 6 April. There was a discussion about other options for fallen stones. BB undertook to ask the Edinburgh Friends about possible training to use block and tackle to turn small stones.