Along with the unveiling of the Sherlock Holmes statue on Picardy Place comes the news that the public realm area in the middle will reopen to the public very soon, perhaps as soon as next week.
There will be benches, a walking route and a cycling route with some green areas afforded by trees and other planting to come.
The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was born nearby at number 11. In 2018 the life-sized bronze sculpture was removed from its original position on the north side and taken away for renovation by Black Isle Bronze in Nairn. The statue was originally sculpted by Gerald Ogilvie Laing in memory of the sleuth created by the Edinburgh-born author.
Now the statue is back in a new position on the island which has rain gardens, and trees and shrubs to be planted in October, which is we are told the optimal planting season.
Cllr Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Sherlock’s return has been the finishing touch for Picardy Place island – I’m pleased to welcome him back to his creator’s birthplace, taking pride of place in this transformed public space.
“For so long this area has been disused and unloved, so it’s wonderful to see it brought back to life. Not only will it link walking and cycling routes to and from the city centre, but will provide a spot to relax, meet up and enjoy some of the fascinating cultural artefacts on display.”
Also present this morning was Tania Henzell a relative of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. She was wearing the Conan Doyle tartan in his honour. She said: “I am pleased to see that Sherlock Holmes has returned to the new location, Picardy Place island, to keep a watchful eye in the heart of Edinburgh. Many of his followers have asked where he had gone – to the north of Scotland to solve a long running case, I replied!”
Barry Young of The Sherlock Holmes Society of Scotland said: “It’s wonderful to see Conan Doyle’s most famous creation back in the heart of the capital. We understand that in his absence Holmes has met the head lama in Tibet, travelled through Persia and sorted out a spot of trouble with the Statue of Liberty, the results of which he has communicated to the foreign office.
“He now retakes his rightful place in Picardy Place, overseeing the teeming metropolis and ready to undertake the investigation of whatever mysterious domestic issues might be puzzling the authorities.”
The reconstruction of Picardy Place was delivered as part of the Regeneration Accelerator Model Agreement which is the way the St James Quarter development was funded among the council, the original developers, TH Real Estate and The Scottish Government. You can read more about that here in our article from 29 April 2014.