Tony Harris, Barbara McNaught, Carolyn Walker, Ellen-Raissa Jackson, Barbara Blows, Dennis Smith, Dave Stone, Lise Tole, Iain Wilson.
Morag and Robin MacCormick, Hazel Dunne, Magnus Hagdorn.
We discussed events and developments since the last meeting. The Fungi Foray was a great success, regardless of the heavy rain, with about 25 enthusiastic participants who found many different varieties of fungus. Our thanks to Patrick Hickey for leading the event and Carolyn Walker for organising. It was agreed that this should continue as an annual event if possible. PH and CW to write something for the website.
Doors Open Day 2019 was fairly well attended (more than 50 visitors) and attracted several people who had not visited previously. The format of having volunteers stationed at the gate and particular graves worked well (given our limited numbers on the day) although it was felt that we could swap around more.
It was agreed that there is no need to stick so strictly to the DOD theme (given that other places do not seem to bother). Suggestions for next year: focus on a particular area of the cemetery, new research of graves, consider area around the catacombs to show off the work of the working party. BB suggested creating a display on funerals through the ages. TH suggested that there were some funeral photos in the archives.
DS to assess what material we have on funerals.
Missing memorial stone – ERJ has been looking for the Judith Pritica open book memorial stone, which appears to be missing (or at least to have moved). Scottish Jewish Cemetery Database have noted it but have no information. No one had any further information on its location. Apparently there have been some thefts of headstones (with thieves adding small stones on top to indicate which ones are to be taken) in Morningside.
ERJ to email Peter Gentleman re Pritica.
TH to find out whether gravestone theft is an issue.
BB reported that there have been 5 contacts to the website, all of which she passed on to DS. There was a discussion on what to do with grave inquiries – BB to use her judgment and to refer people to firstname.lastname@example.org It was suggested (again) that we put a notice up at the cemetery entrance (although BB pointed out that most such contacts are from outwith Scotland). Also to include this information in our general leaflet. BB to circulate emails from the Inch nursery.
Trunks and branches left by the Forestry Service were used to edge the area by the front bed to prevent parking on the grass. The WP also carried several huge branches to start edging the path by the catacombs. It was suggested that the self-seeded laurels by the Screen Wall could be used to continue this.
CW and IW to consider areas where we might want to open up light/remove small laurel.
The fern planting at one end of the catacombs has been successful and there is still more to do. After some discussion it was decided to start at the other end for the next batch.
Next working party – Tree planting. However, there was an extended discussion about where we can source trees and meet the council’s biosecurity policy and not pay excessive delivery charges. CW suggested Frank P Matthews as an alternative to Bartrams.
Plan to add cotoneasters in between ferns.
Lift turf along the railings by the Jewish section and use to maintain the front bed.
We had agreed to draft a general leaflet, but this was put on hold to manage DOD and other events. It was agreed that we should go ahead and tackle this again. ERJ and BMcN to develop a draft to share. It was suggested that a PDF of the leaflet should be posted on the website.
There was a discussion about getting rid of old stuff on the website, so that News and Events could be found on a single, more up-to-date page, which has an overview of events for the year. It was also suggested that we re-start the working party updates. ERJ to talk to MH about how we can achieve this.
Snowdrop walk – to coincide with the Scottish Snowdrop Festival (which runs throughout February). Sunday 16 or 23 February are the most likely dates. ERJ to check and confirm.
TH gave a short history of Finlayson’s links with the area and suggested that we hold an event to celebrate the bi-centenary of the founding of the company in 2020. The University of Tampere is publishing a book on Finlayson and there has been some interest in adding the name of Margaret Finlayson (d. 1855) to the headstone. Brian Dunoon (who is responsible for the Finlayson plaque in Nicolson Square) suggests a small sloping stone in front. TH and Angela had done further research into Finlayson’s birthdate and new information had come to light. TH has been in contact with the Lord Provost – we would need to confirm dates. This would also help with publicising the event. It was suggested that we should tidy around the grave area and see whether there were any laurels that could be removed.
We have been informed that we have to use the tool store grant by February. ERJ has been chasing Gareth Edwards at the council and TH informed the group that the base had been installed (later confirmed by BMcN). TH to order the tool shed. There may be a longer lead-in time than we expected.
RSPB birdwatch event is the end of January. CW suggested thinking about art in the cemetery. Possibly seek out a chainsaw artists to turn fallen logs into seats or other wood sculptures. ERJ to contact Summerhall for possible suggestions.