Hearts explain their unique heritage plans and invite fans to a consultation meeting

The Tynecastle museum will host a discussion on the proposals next month

Hearts are inviting supporters to attend a public consultation next month to discuss the club’s proposed heritage trail in Edinburgh. Fans can hear plans surrounding the project at a meeting on Saturday, 8 June, from 12pm to 3pm at the Tynecastle Park museum.

The ‘Maroon Mile’ project was lauched in March this year and will run through Gorgie and Dalry between Tynecastle and the Haymarket War Memorial. Hearts officials are working in conjunction with counterparts at Foundation of Hearts, the group which owns the club on behalf of supporters. They hope to attract many members of the public to discuss the proposals.

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A statement issued by the Foundation read: “We are holding a public consultation on Saturday 8th June to hear your thoughts about the proposed Maroon Mile heritage trail. Come along to hear about our plans for the heritage trail which will start at Haymarket War memorial and finish at tynecastle park. This is a collaborative project between the Foundation of Hearts and Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

“The Maroon Mile project, which is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will involve a wide range of exciting events and activities. The mile-long heritage trail will be the main component of the project; however, we will be undertaking a vast array of outreach and engagement activities including an oral history project, workshops and community clean-ups.”

Upon launching their Maroon Mile plans in March, Hearts explained its concept in detail to supporters in a statement. It read: “We are happy to announce ambitious plans for a one-mile-long trail to celebrate the history of Heart of Midlothian Football Club (HMFC) and the associated local area.

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“The Foundation of Hearts and HMFC are delighted to announce that they have been successful in securing significant funding of £207,339.00 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their planned Maroon Mile project. The announcement comes as Hearts Heritage Department unveils plans for continued celebrations of the Club’s Sesquicentennial. Hearts is celebrating its 150-year anniversary in 2024; a history and a future which was assured by the Foundation of Hearts, one of the most significant supporter-led movements in football.

“Heart of Midlothian has enjoyed iconic status in Gorgie and neighbouring Dalry since the late 19th century with a rich history that is interwoven with that of the local community. The Maroon Mile project will highlight, capture and share the history of this diversely rich and vibrant working-class area and explore and mark the role the Club has played in the lives of multiple generations.  It will promote and reflect the enduring community pride which characterises the area, instilling a greater sense of belonging and celebration of place.

“Voices of the Mile will be captured in a wide-reaching, multi-generational oral history project which will record the intangible history of the area including songs, chats, stories and soundscapes. As well as uncovering previously untold stories from Hearts’ history, there will be a deeper dive into the history of Scottish women’s football, pre and post ban, where Tynecastle Park has played a significant role.

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“Hearts' history is strongly ingrained in the area's built environment, most notably in the War Memorial at Haymarket which is dedicated to the citizens of Edinburgh and to the Battalions who served. This roll of honour includes those Hearts’ players who enlisted for McCrae’s Battalion.

“The monument is a deeply cherished part of the Capital's history. Sadly, due to major changes to roads infrastructure that have been introduced, its dignity has been eroded. A critical part of this project will be to begin to restore that dignity and to use the Monument as the starting point of the Maroon Mile.

“Hearts Heritage will create a mile-long heritage trail that focuses on the social, economic and sporting history of Gorgie and Dalry. Starting at the Monument, the trail will end at the Hearts’ Museum, where new multimedia equipment will be deployed to share a rich array of assets highlighting the history and heritage of the Club and the area since 1874.

“The trail will be created jointly with local community groups with physical signage and interpretation as well as an audio walking tour. New Heritage assets will be created by local pupils who receive free digital skills development in the club’s pioneering innovation centre. The creation and sharing of project outputs will be accessible and inclusive and will reflect the interests of the community. Hearts Heritage will use part of the funding to create two new Heritage posts to manage and curate activities and outputs.

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“The project will enhance points on the Mile and form part of a wider initiative designed to maintain the trail in the future. Traditional Skills Day workshops will offer pupils at local schools the opportunity to have a practical taster of disciplines such as stone carving and signwriting.

“The Maroon Mile project will be delivered over an 18-month period from March 2024 to October 2025. The Foundation of Hearts and Hearts wish to express their thanks to National Lottery Players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support in delivering such a meaningful project that will touch the lives of all generations of citizens and supporters.”

Foundation of Hearts chairman, Gerry Mallon, commented: “Heart of Midlothian is a club born out of this community 150 years ago, deeply rooted in Gorgie/Dalry and saved from oblivion by its supporters. We’re incredibly proud of the role the club and the community have played in supporting each other for a century and a half - and the Maroon Mile is a fantastic and appropriate celebration of that enduring relationship.”

The Hearts chairwoman Ann Budge added: “We are immensely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their generous support of our Maroon Mile initiative.  It is fitting that funding has come through collaboration between the Foundation of Hearts without whom, Heart of Midlothian could never have reached the milestone of 150 years and our own Heritage Department. Their joint vision and the passion of all those involved will create a memorable and enduring legacy for the communities of Gorgie and Dalry and for generations of Hearts supporters now and in the future.”

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