Lest we forget, part 2 : EPSG

It started with a tweet !

The National Galleries of Scotland announced in September 2018, plans for extensive new landscaping of East Princes Street Gardens. The Gardens were closed a few weeks later. They remained closed to the public,  for 18 of the next 20 months.

This post summarises key events since then, the removal in October 2018 of 52 well-established trees and the addition of 22 new ones. A Christmas market. Lots of relandscaping. Another Christmas market. Lots of flooding. “Nostalgia does’t make good policy”. More landscaping. New drainage. Returfing. More returfing. Reopening in July 2020.


October 2018 : out went fifty two trees …

52 trees were removed. Edinburgh Spotlight’s photos were taken before and after these trees were removed. 


Gerry Mulvenna’s video gives more detail of what EPSG looked like when the trees were still there. His video was taken three years earlier (October 2015).

November 2018 : … and in came the Christmas Market

Underbelly Ltd set about building the Christmas Market. 

Photographs surfaced. These suggested many of the trees had been planted just fourteen years earlier.


January 2019 : plans announced to replace 42% of the trees


February 2019 : legacy of the 2018 Christmas Market

April 2019 : NGS landscaping starts

East Princes Street Gardens, which was due to reopen in the spring, will now remain closed until August. The original 12-week programme began in January.” BBC, 25th April, 2019. More here.

June 2019 : NGS landscaping continues


July 2019 : replacements found for 42% of trees removed in October 2018


August 2019 : the Gardens are still closed

October 2019 : preparations for Edinburgh Christmas (without planning permission)

November 2019 : the Christmas Market takes shape (without planning permission)

January 2020 : legacy of the 2019 Christmas Market

February 2020 : “nostalgia doesn’t create good policy”

April 2020 : new drainage introduced


May 2020 : returfing of the slopes commence

June 2020 : more returfing

July 2020 : The Gardens re-open

East Princes Street Gardens had been closed to the public, for 20 of the previous 22 months. The Gardens north of the railway were reopened to the public on 30th June. Gardens south of the railway are still closed.

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