Susan Buckham 2012

Kirkyard Consulting

The Edinburgh Graveyards Project

The Edinburgh Graveyards Project encompasses the three kirkyards of St Cuthbert’s, Greyfriars and Canongate and the two burial grounds of Calton Old and Calton New. The Project draws together existing information on these sites and develops this knowledge through new research linked to the following aims: to develop a body of knowledge relating to the graveyards that will help to improve our understanding and valorisation of the graveyards; to assess the current patterns of ‘use’ of the five graveyards and the potential for positive improvement; to recommend options for improved practical care and management of the graveyards; and to examine the potential for enhanced community participation in a process  of creating a more financially sustainable model of stewardship.  In order to meet these aims, the research collected new data on public perceptions of the sites which are more or less well-established ‘tourist’ destinations.  The research considered possible management strategies for the sites, and in doing so collated data on the operational of a range of existing Friends’ groups.  However, there is no ‘off-the-peg’ model for a Friends’ group covering more than one site, and where each site presents different interpretation challenges and opportunities.  Furthermore, the need to take action is stymied by the lack of any imminent ‘threat’ to any of the sites in the project. The paper concludes with some reflections on public inclusion in the conservation of burial spaces.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract