Phoebe Anna Traquair Murals

Posted on: February 24, 2021

Planning application regarding Phoebe Anna Traquair murals in Sciennes, Edinburgh

Location: Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 9 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1LF

Planning Application No: 21/00331/LBC

Summary: A planning application for external alterations to this Category A building. This new application, if successful, would set aside the attached conditions of a previous planning application that would have required the applicant to restore and provide public access to the internationally significant Phoebe Anna Traquair murals in the former mortuary chapel of the Royal Hospital of Sick Children.

Cockburn Response

This application will be of concern to anyone with an interest in the artistic heritage of Edinburgh and Scotland. Having carefully reviewed it, the Cockburn Association intends to OBJECT.

Our objection relates to the conditions attached to the original planning permission granted for the redevelopment of the Sick Children’s Hospital site at Sciennes. This was subject to a specific condition that there should be care and protection of the mortuary chapel murals and long-term access by the public.

This new application only ensures the short-term protection of the building and murals and does not ensure the restoration of the murals, nor the long-term management of the building in which they are located nor arrangements for public access.

We believe that there are no current circumstances which would justify the request for the discharge of condition 8 of the original planning permission. This must not be allowed until the restoration of the murals and their future security is assured and arrangement for public access put in place.

Phoebe Anna Traquair was an Edinburgh-based artist who achieved worldwide recognition for her key role in the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland, as an illustrator, painter and embroiderer. The first woman ever elected to the Royal Scottish Academy, Traquair is justifiably regarded by many experts as the first significant professional female artist of modern Scotland. Her mural painting for The Royal Hospital for Sick Children are among her most famous works.

It is imperative that these murals are saved for Edinburgh and for the Scottish Nation. We welcome the recent intervention made by Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the the National Galleries of Scotland, that re-emphasises the significance of the murals and we therefore call on the planning authority, the City of Edinburgh Council, to take action and enforce Condition 8 of the original planning condition.

You can view the application and post your own official comments at the link below (search for application number: 21/00331/LBC). Closing date: Fri 26 Feb 2021.