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Thursday, 22 December 2016

On the History of Edinburgh's Botanic Cottage


                                     BOTANIC COTTAGE, EDINBURGH

                                    BOTANIC COTTAGE RE-OPENS

                                     SIMPSON AND BROWN ARCHITECTS

Last week I attended the official re-opening of the Botanic Cottage in its new location in the Royal Botanic gardens, with members of a reading group organised by the Scottish Poetry Library. Unfortunately, we arrived just in time to see Princess Anne disappearing behind a hedge, However, the architects were much lauded during the reception. I got into conversation with an important looking young architect who I took to be William Kay, the man who I knew had completed most of the historical research about the (Sir John Hope) Cottage in its previous location between Leith Walk and Hopetoun Crescent Gardens. However, it turned out to a case of mistaken identity, William Kay is now a private consultant, and he doesn't seem to have been given much credit at all for his magnificent accomplishments.

     This evening, I met up with the real William Kay one more time in one of my favourite restaurants, He is most impressive in professional terms, He had for example, determined that

                                                  JOHN WILLIAMSON,

the head gardener at the old Royal Botanics was MURDERED in 1780. Furthermore, William's ancestor John Kay was the artist of the only known painting of the first Regius Keeper John Hope, and John Williamson also appeared in the painting

                                      CELEBRATING HOPE---see page 8 of THE BOTANICS

Without William Kay's detailed historical researches, which he'd described to me at length during previous years, the new version of the Botanic Cottage wouldn't look anything like it does today


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