Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Heart of Midlothian Memorial and the Trams

Edinburgh Council have decided to install trams once again in another of their acts of 'progress.' Now I don't know whether this will actually benefit Edinburgh or not, although a drunk on a tram late at night is very similar to a drunk on a bus in my view. It may speed the traffic, it may be a success, who can tell? One thing is sure it will not be paid for overnight! The construction of the tramway has meant a great many things, including statues and memorials, have to be moved to allow the trams to pass. One memorial that must move is the memorial to the players of the Heart of Midlothian who enlisted in 1914. As you know they formed the basis of the 16th Royal Scots, known as 'McCrae's Battalion,' along with many other Edinburgh volunteers, and players from Raith Rovers, Falkirk and Hibernian. Together they produced the most powerful battalion football team in the forces.

More than thirty Hearts men enlisted, and hundreds more joined from all Scots football teams. All endured much suffering, physical, and emotional, many failed to return to the game at wars end. Of the Hearts men many were disabled, and seven were dead, this memorial was erected by grateful citizens in 1922 to commemorate their sacrifice and effort. Each year the service of remembrance is held here and several hundred gather to commemorate the death of these men. In attendance are representatives from the clubs involved and many who feel these men, and those from all later conflicts, should never be forgotten.

There is a fear that the council are doing their best to 'dump' the memorial in an unsuitable place. This would be unfortunate. Haymarket, at the bottom of Dalry Road leads up to Tynecastle Park, the home of the Hearts. It is also the meeting place of roads from the west and thousands of people pass through each day on their daily routine. This is the spot this memorial needs to be found, nowhere else. This was the intention in the twenties and the introduction of trams into Edinburgh surely should not over ride the opinions of many, including the many descendants of the dead, who believe this memorial ought to be sighted in the Haymarket. It is to be hoped that a sight, possibly outside 'Ryries bar,' another listed building, may be chosen. The fear is council staff, uninterested in the memorial nor the feelings of those involved, may choose to store the memorial and possibly even allow it to be forgotten. This must be opposed.

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