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December 3, 2014

The Evergreen message of Geddes

Although best known for his work on town planning, Patrick Geddes was a true polymath – bridging science and the arts and understanding the role of education as a catalyst for social change. 120 years ago he published The Evergreen anthologies – collections of writings designed to make us look afresh at our surroundings. Geddes lived and worked in Edinburgh’s Old Town and is the inspiration behind Edinburgh’s Old Town Development Trust decision to publish its own version of The Evergreen. One copy of this very fine book could be yours. First to ask, gets an early christmas present.




The Evergreen is the inaugural project of the Word Bank which itself is a project of Edinburgh’s Old Town Development Trust

Celebrating the local, the work of writers and artists and the importance of community, The Evergreen will produce four publications of new writing alongside an extensive 2-year learning and events programme.

In 1895, following the example of Allan Ramsay, Patrick Geddes and colleagues produced their Evergreen calling for ‘a return to local and national tradition and living nature’.

Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust, in partnership with The University of Edinburgh and others want to amplify this call for the 21st century.

The Evergreen will establish community-led cultural projects as an integral part of the Word Bank.

The project will actively involve and support the whole Old Town community and encourage a literary and cultural tradition where everyone contributes to the on-going story of the city.

Geddes wanted to move away from what he saw as the ‘decadent culture’ of his time which was epitomised by self-interest – ‘The rule of conduct “Each for himself”,  which is held good enough for beasts, has little relevance to human intercourse and social action’.    

Self-interest and the drive for personal and corporate profit still drives our culture, locally, nationally and beyond. The Evergreen offers a chance to re-think existing models of community aspiring to approaches that will serve us all better.

In that spirit, the Trust wants the widest possible collaboration in the project and invites anyone interested to get in touch, especially those wioth contributions to the first Evergreen books, which will be published in 2014.


Contact: Elizabeth Eliott or Sean Bradley