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May 4, 2016

APOGI – A Place Of Great Importance

The East Lothian town of Tranent was somewhat harshly described in the Gazetteer of 1881 as ‘a place of no importance’. Wounding words for any self-respecting community, but Tranent is a resilient place and hopefully no lasting harm was done.  In any event, the official opening last weekend of Tranent’s APOGI should finally lay to rest the ghost of that 1881 Gazetteer. This community led arts project incorporates the area’s historic mining traditions within a new community greenspace.

East Lothian Council

APOGI (A Place of Great Importance) is a community led project aiming to develop the green space between the Muirpark housing area and the recent development of Steading View in Tranent.  Building upon the success of the new allotments and the children’s play park, the space offers a fantastic opportunity for further development into an attractive amenity for both local residents and the wider community of Tranent.

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Cllr Tim Day, explained:

“Funding is in place to begin a first phase of planned improvements, namely a gateway feature to the park which will increase the space’s visibility within the town and create an attractive point of interest at the eastern side of Tranent. Putting the local community at the centre of any planned proposals has been very important to the project steering group.”

“East Lothian Council supported the procurement of an artist for the initial phase of the project through its Percent for Art initiative, which is a condition of planning consent that results in artworks being created as part of building developments. A project group was then established with representatives from the Muirpark and Steading View Tenants and Residents Association, Tenants Information Service and from the Council’s Art service, CLD service and Landscape service. The East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel are supporting the project with practical support and assistance.”

Artist David Wilson was appointed by the Council and the project group to create proposals for the gateway. David undertook consultation with the local community before developing a public art scheme that offers members of the public two exciting opportunities to make their own personal mark upon the project:

Making a Tally

Coal is the story of Tranent and its history has provided inspiration for the proposals.  Miners used a simple physical brass coin system, called a tally, as a record of who was down the mine pit, individually numbered they each represented a person.  Taking that as a starting point members of the public are being encouraged to make their own tally in return for sharing a simple important story from their own personal history.  This will be recorded and become a snapshot of the spirit of the People of Tranent.  These Tallies will then be built into Cairns that will form the Park entrance.  You can come up with any personal Tally story that is important to you and it could be about past, present or future.  We are trying to capture the social value and fabric of Tranent in a unique way that will stand for generations.

Concealment Items

A folk tradition in many parts of the world was the act of building into the new walls of a house a personal item belonging to the residents of the house, often children’s shoes, it was a way of retaining the spirit of that person.  The APOGI project will build into the Entrance Cairns any items donated by the public and record these, again making local people a genuine living part of the project.

Liz Hutchison Chair of the Muirpark and Steading View Tenants and Residents Panel added :

“The project group hopes that the local community will get involved in this exciting and unique project. The ultimate aim is to change this little corner of Tranent and transform it into ……A Place of Great Importance”

The project group is keen to hear from the local community. Stories and pictures that will form part of the tallies and concealment items can be sent via facebook, email or by contacting the project group.

If you would like to get involved by volunteering to help, organise/help at events, donate items, help record stories, build website etc. Further details available from or contact East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel on 0131 665 9304 or  You can also follow the project on:-   twitter@apogipark14  and Facebook – Apogi Park or APOGI

The APOGI project is led by the Muirpark and Steading View Tenants and Residents Association with support from the following organisations :

East Lothian Council

Tranent Belters

Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council

Leader Fund

Castlerock Edinvar Housing Association

East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel