Elm Row pigeons: Sneak peek at the bronze birds before they return to Edinburgh street

A first look at Edinburgh's iconic bronze pigeons has been shared by the city’s council as the birds are getting their final touches done before being returned to Leith Walk.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 9:49 pm

The public artworks, created by sculptor Shona Kinloch, were first removed during the original tram project in 2006, much to the dismay of locals who treasured seeing them daily.

But now, as part of Trams to Newhaven, the seven bronze birds are being refurbished and in some cases, completely recast before their grand return to the street this summer.

Leith resident Leonard Andrew, 35, responded to the news of the birds’ return.

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He said: "These pigeons are iconic.

"Like so many people in Edinburgh, these pigeons were a permanent fixture of my youth and the fact they are to return for the next generation to enjoy makes me smile.

"The pigeons and Elm Row... I don't think you can have one without the other. It's like Hale without Pace, vodka without coke... mince minus tatties."

He added: “I remember when one of them was pinched and the city was distraught. To think they've now been gone for over a decade, well I can't wait to see them back".

One of the bronze Elm Row pigeons being spruced up picture: Edinburgh City Council

Kerry Hammond, a specialist from Powderhall Bronze, the company renovating the birds, said: “We were delighted to work on Shona’s cast bronze Elm Row pigeons again after all this time.

"They have always been very popular and it will be great to see them sited back for the public to enjoy.”

Edinburgh City Council plans to restore the pigeons alongside the London Road Pillar Clock which is currently being refurbished by clockmaker Smiths of Derby. A new aluminium deer has also been made and the Coat of Arms of Edinburgh repaired – both will sit at the top of the clock.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “These pigeons are a little piece of Leith Walk history, so I’m delighted that they’ll soon be back in their rightful home as part of the Trams to Newhaven project.

Elm Row pigeon after a makeover and ready to come back to the street picture: Edinburgh City Council

Construction on the Trams to Newhaven project is ongoing with current track-laying on sections of Leith Walk, Constitution Street and at Ocean Terminal.

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