A HISTORIC much-loved city landmark is to be pulled down after safety experts ruled it posed a danger to passers-by.
The Meadows Jawbone Arch has been branded a risk to pedestrians and now a specialist is being sought to remove and restore it.
Jawbone Walk, the main path between Marchmont and the city centre across the Meadows, was closed by the city council on Friday after a survey found the structure’s condition had deteriorated.
The arch dates back to the 19th century and heritage chiefs today insisted it was vital it was restored to its former glory.
It is not known how long the restoration will take, but it is understood to be a “significant amount of time”.
Leader of the city council’s Conservative group Cameron Rose, who launched an appeal calling for the jawbone to be restored, said: “This was always going to prove a lengthy restoration project. An appeal was launched a couple of years ago with a view to restoring it, but it’s not been as active as I would have hoped.
“It’s quite an old structure and it needs to be dried out and repaired if it’s ever going to go back, and I think there’s a desire to put it back because it’s a piece of the Meadows’ history.
“The Jawbone is one of these things that has a lifespan and I think it’s been recognised that the day has come to repair it.”
The cost of restoring the structure is estimated at around £60,000 and only a fraction of that amount – £15,000 – has been pledged to the appeal.
Councillor Rose said: “Finding the remainder of the costs is something that will be have to be negotiated.”
The structure consists of four whale jawbones placed vertically and meeting at the top.
They were exhibited at the Edinburgh Exhibition in 1886 where the Orkney and Fair Isle Knitters’ Stall was made of
jawbones and was erected at the entrance to the Meadows in 1887 after being gifted to the city.
Heather Goodare, of the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links, said the group was set to meet with Edinburgh World Heritage to discuss the future of the Jawbone and how to raise the money needed to repair it.
She said: “It’s very important that whoever does the work does so in a responsible manner so that even if it can’t be reinstated in the Meadows it can be preserved elsewhere.”
A Edinburgh World Heritage spokesman said: “In terms of work, the first stage will be to dry it out in storage, and then a proper examination can be carried out. Until that’s done it’s difficult to say precisely what might be needed, but the bone will need to consolidated or perhaps coated, and it may need new footings.”
The city council said it was now exploring “the best way this important structure can be conserved and reinstated”.