Young authors explore history and heritage of Edinburgh's North Bridge

14 September 2023
Edinburgh school children have published two new books inspired by the history and refurbishment of the city’s North Bridge.

pupils from Drummond Community High School and formerly from Leith Walk Primary School, Broughton Primary School and Abbeyhill Primary School launched the books, ‘Stories From The Stones’ (by S2 pupils from Drummond Community High) and ‘What’s That About North Bridge’ (by P7 pupils from the three primary schools, who are now S1 pupils at Drummond Community High).

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The young authors worked closely with the project team and contractors Balfour Beatty to develop stories for the books, including visits to the project site, as part of the North Bridge Refurbishment Arts Legacy and Community Benefits Programme, and thanks to funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

Historic documents

Drummond Community High pupils also worked with Ancestry and the Council’s archives department to explore old artefacts and documents relating to the bridge, helping to inspire characters and ideas. The project was facilitated by Super Power Agency, an Edinburgh based local charity that promotes writing and literacy.

At the special launch event pupils read from their books, which include fictional stories about an early 20th century sailor returning to his North Bridge home, an imagined military battle on the bridge and a magic potion which makes the whole bridge disappear.

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Heritage of North Bridge

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:  'It’s clear that the young authors of these books have vibrant imaginations - reading their stories has been very entertaining!

'It’s particularly interesting to see how they have woven the majesty and heritage of the North Bridge into their tales, and it’s evident that all those who contributed have spent a lot of time thinking about the bridge and its history. Thanks to the Community Benefits Programme we’re able to really involve local people to learn and participate in the scheme as it progresses.

'This is a huge project for the city and the people who live nearby, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience as it continues. Once complete it will retain the much-loved North Bridge for generations to come.'

Restoring North Bridge

The major project to restore Edinburgh’s 19th-century North Bridge began in 2018 and includes reinforcements to the top deck, significant repairs to structural steelwork and improvements to the bridge’s historic cast iron façade.

Funding for the book has been facilitated by the Council through a Historic Environment Scotland Support Fund Grant, matched by Balfour Beatty, their supply chain and other companies associated with the North Bridge refurbishment project.

Ancestry has been working with Edinburgh City Archives to digitise over 21 million records, which are available on their family history website. As part of Ancestry’s community benefits with the Council, it provides free access to its website for users of the Edinburgh City Archives and Edinburgh Libraries.

(report and images courtesy of Edinburgh City Council)