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poster for 15th March meeting

The Great, the Good and the Useful: the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh

Anna Feintuck

Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 7pm
Augustine United Church,
41 George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL

There is access for the disabled and an induction loop at the hall.

Between 1870 and 1930, the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh was bestowed upon 92 individuals. The ceremonies were meticulously organised, usually involving months of planning. They were expensive – each Freedom ceremony cost Edinburgh’s civic purse an average of £188, or around £19,000 in 2016 prices – and the receptions that followed were strictly exclusive, divided along lines of class and gender. For those present, they were also an evocative sensory experience, packed with symbolism and civic pride – from the Lord Provost’s effusive speeches to police pipers playing in the haggis at luncheon. Yet the Freedom of the City has so far been under-used and seldom acknowledged as a lens through which to view civic ceremony and urban places. In fact, much previous scholarly work describes an overall decline in urban ceremony in the early twentieth century. This talk challenges that narrative and provides an insight into a vital aspect of Edinburgh's history.

Anna is an historian, writer and curator, living in Edinburgh, and currently studying for her PhD in Economic and Social History. She is particularly interested in 19th and 20th century history, with a particular interest in cities, maps and knowledge.

View the location of the Augustine United Church on a map.

Lectures are free to members and open to non-members paying a small fee (currently £5.00).