Derelict Colinton railway tunnel transformed by artwork inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson

The entire mural is inspired by the work of the novelist and the local community.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 2:04 pm
The mural in the derelict Colinton railway tunnel.

A derelict former railway tunnel in Colinton has been completely transformed by a local artist who was inspired by the works of Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS).

Chris Rutterford, who has been working on the project for months, unveiled his colourful artwork on 169th anniversary of the Kidnapped author’s birth.

The entire mural is inspired by the work of the novelist and the local community.

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Artist Chris Rutterford unveiled his colourful artwork on the 169th anniversary of Stevenson's birth.

Children from nearby schools, including Bonaly Primary and Braeburn Primary, attended the event, where they recited the ‘From a Railway Carriage’ poem by Stevenson.

Mr Rutterford said: “When arranging the RLS mural I wanted to ensure that it had the same intensity in the portrait that exists in other elements of the tunnel art work. I included pages from several of his works in the mural, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Swing.

“However my favourite element of the mural has to the inclusion of the buccaneering Black Spot permanent ink.

“The idea behind the design was to link Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem ‘From a Railway Carriage’ to the local community that has been involved from the offset. As a project it is already becoming an engaging, exciting and amusing public artwork for all those connected to the site.”

Chris at the event, which was attended by lots of schoolchildren.

More than 400 children, as well as various groups and organisations, such as the local barracks, third sector agencies, the local church and many others, have been involved with the mural.

Andy Ingleton, P6B class teacher at Bonaly Primary, said: “All the pupils had a great time and I think what made it so special for them was seeing how literacy and artwork combined together. They had great fun painting the mural in the school and learning Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic poem. So to walk through the tunnel this morning and stopping at each part of the mural reciting different lines from the poem was amazing for them.”

'Community-driven project'

The 140m tunnel mural will be the longest of its kind in Scotland when it is completed next year.

Jeremy Hodges, of the RLS Club, said: “It is fantastic to see his work come to life in such a way. Many people lose the beauty of a child’s mind in adulthood but RLS did not.”

The Colinton Tunnel Trust still need donations to complete the mural, having raised half of the £100,000 target.

Part of the renovation of the tunnel was undertaken in order to increase footfall to business in the Colinton Village and to make the public pathway safer to use. Edinburgh City Council assisted by fixing the lighting in the tunnel.

Sustrans and other organisations have supported the project with a full list of stakeholders available on the Colinton Tunnel Trust website.

John Lauder, Deputy CEO of Sustrans, said: “Sustrans Scotland has been delighted to support this inspiring, community-driven project through our ArtRoots programme, which is funded by Transport Scotland.

“The Colinton Tunnel Mural is an outstanding celebration of what can be achieved when a community comes together to make the most of their local National Cycle Network paths.

“I hope that this outstanding project inspires other groups across Scotland, and we look forward to supporting more communities in helping us realise our vision of an attractive, safe and accessible network of paths for everyone.”

PICTURES COURTESY OF ALISTAIR BAIRD