The Park – History
The steep-sided valley that forms Braidburn Valley Park was created as a result of glacial and fluvial activity. The classic u-shape of the land has protected it from development, and it was farmed until the late 19th Century.
By this time Edinburgh was expanding southwards. The building of the Braid Hills Hotel (1897) and houses along the east side of Pentland Terrace to Riselaw Crescent (up to 1937), and the starting of Greenbank in 1908 and Comiston Springs in 1935 to the north and south respectively were indicative of the pressure on land for housing. Fortunately, Edinburgh Corporation purchased the valley in 1933; one of the conditions of the purchase was that it should be kept as a public open space for all time.
Some notable features and events in the Park:
- Edinburgh’s earliest piped water supply came from the Comiston Springs and was piped into the City via the Park. Pipe marker stones are still visible on the eastern slopes of the valley, and although the Comiston Springs no longer supplies the City, its water now runs into the Braid Burn near the southern entrance to the Park.
- Cherry trees laid out in the shape of the Guide Trefoil dominate the south-eastern slopes of the Park. Planted by 5,000 Girl Guides, Brownies and Rangers on Saturday 2nd November 1935, they commemorated the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
- The iron gates, which were once located at the entrance to Comiston House, are now at the north entrance to the Park and are inlaid with the initials of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1937, as part of their coronation celebrations, a thousand school children gave a massed display of dancing and gymnastics in the Park. The open-air theatre complete with tiered seating in the shape of the Royal Crown was also inaugurated at this event.
During World War II the eastern slopes of the Park were turned into allotments, and for a few years after the war the stage continued to be used by several drama groups and opera companies. In more recent years, the Park has hosted sheep dog trials, dog shows and some performances took place at Edinburgh Festivals, but events such as these became increasingly rare.
In the late 1990s a group consisting of local residents and Council officials was set up to review proposals for tree planting in the Park, and to discuss other improvements. This marked the start of community involvement in the management of the Park, and in the summer of 2002 ‘The Friends of Braidburn Valley Park’ was formally constituted.
A more detailed account of the history of the Park is also available. This file is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. To read it you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is likely to be already installed on your computer. If not, you can download the latest version below.