A TEAM of Edinburgh academics have launched a new project to celebrate the beleaguered tower blocks that transformed the skylines of post-war Britain.
Historians at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) are creating a picture archive of every high-rise flat erected in the UK after 1945 – including a number of now-demolished blocks in the Capital.
Tower Blocks – Our Blocks!, a three-year project funded by a £52,900 Lottery grant, will produce an online catalogue of 3500 images taken in the 1980s.
Edinburgh high-rises featuring on the site will include Niddrie Marischal, Wester Hailes Contract 4 and Leith Kirkgate, as well as Leith Fort, which was demolished in 1994.
Professor Miles Glendinning, head of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies at ECA, said: “We hope this project will help contribute to the ongoing shift in public attitudes towards the post-war Modernist housing heritage, which is fast turning from an object of dislike and alienation into a force for potential community empowerment.
“Council tower blocks were once the most prominent and dramatic legacy of the post-1945 reconstruction drive, but mass demolitions over the past 35 years, still continuing today, have depleted this vast heritage, leaving it obscured or incomprehensible to the public at a time when popular interest in post-war Modernist heritage is sharply increasing.” Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Without archives, vast segments of our nation’s history would be missing.”