Popular Edinburgh Open Day postponed to 2022 due to ‘financial concerns’

A popular heritage event offering Edinburgh residents the chance to explore hidden parts of the city’s history for free has been postponed for the first time in more than 30 years due to financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cockburn Association has announced that the ‘open day’ will be on ‘sabbatical’ for at least the next 12 months until the organization can make up the ‘shortfalls’ caused by the covid shutdown.

The weekend-long program – which usually takes place in September – has operated in person every possible year since 1990 and attracts thousands of visitors.

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However, the heritage body said it had been forced to “rule its business” until the financial challenges posed by the pandemic era could be reversed.

Director Terry Levinthal said: “The impact and implications of covid have been with us for two years and should be with us well into the future.

“After long and difficult discussions and after considerable reflection on our 32-year legacy of running open days in Edinburgh (and East Lothian more recently), our Trustees have reluctantly concluded that we should take a sabbatical to organize this very popular event in 2022.

“We will continue our other activities, including promoting the City’s heritage, but in a slightly different way than before.

“We appreciate that this will be a disappointment to many who have enjoyed the opportunity to experience Edinburgh’s architecture and heritage. It is certainly for us.”

Over 130 buildings opened their doors to locals during the last edition of the event in 2019, allowing free access to some of the capital’s most intriguing and diverse venues including the Barnton Nuclear Bunker, Leith Theater , the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh and the National Sports Performance Center in Oriam. .

The organization pivoted to offering virtual viewings in 2020 and 2021 when covid regulations prevented in-person events from being held.

Mr Levinthal said the challenges of delivering a digital version of their program had “stretched” their workload, despite being enjoyed by a global audience.

However, he said the event was due to return in 2023 as part of a “reinvigorated” weekend.

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He added: “Creating a digital program over the past two years has stretched us tremendously, but the collective effort with all the fantastic locations has resulted in superb material enjoyed by a global audience.

“This success, unfortunately, did not bring additional support.

“We thank the tens of thousands of Open Days visitors for their interest, enthusiasm and participation in this beloved free annual event.

“We plan to use this break to reflect on how we can return in 2023 with an invigorated grassroots celebration of local built and natural heritage, which is our intention.”

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