Episode 23 (Season 3): ‘More to it’
Let’s peel back the layers of history and dive into the untold stories written into the buildings and streets of Edinburgh’s New Town. Although, thanks to Lisa Williams, these stories are not so untold anymore…
‘More to it’ is a story about links between Scotland and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but it’s also a story about outstanding Black Scottish people and the ways in which Edinburgh locals supported the abolition movement.
We’re joining a Black history walking tour with Lisa Williams and make our way from the grand streets of Edinburgh’s New Town to the cobbled lanes of the medieval Old Town. We’ll hear stories about controversial monuments, ethical arguments, family connections and more.
After the story, I’ll tell you my top tips for making the most of your trip to Edinburgh.
Are you ready? Great – let’s travel to Scotland!
PS: If you liked this story, listen to my interview with Lisa Williams in which we talk about the Black history tours, moving to Scotland, life in Edinburgh and more.
Written and hosted by Kathi Kamleitner.
Produced, edited and sound design by Fran Turauskis.
Transcripts and social media by Michelle Payne.
Cover Art illustrated by Lizzie Vaughan-Knight.
All original music composed by Bruce Wallace.
Additional sound effects from Zapsplat.
All photographs by Kathi Kamleitner.
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Find out about my favourite tours in Edinburgh.
My Edinburgh Travel Tips
1) Book a Black History Walk with Lisa Williams
The people I mentioned in today’s story barely scratch the surface of all the stories Lisa talks about on her tour. There is so much to learn and discover about Black Scottish history and Lisa always adds new bits of information to the tour. I’ve done it twice now and both times, my mind was blown by the stories Lisa told us.
2) Treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Signet Library
At the Signet Library you can enjoy a fancy afternoon tea surrounded by books. The library was used as a film location in Outlander, where it stood in for the Governor’s mansion in Jamaica. But even without that reference to Outlander or the Caribbean, this is one of my favourite places for afternoon tea in the city. And the tour actually finishes nearby.
3) Head to the Collective art gallery on Calton Hill
Collective is an art gallery at the City Observatory, which sits at the top of Calton Hill. It is a relatively new museum, but already one of my favourites, because it highlights emerging artists and their work, many of whom are people who were traditionally excluded from public art spaces. I’ve seen some thought-provoking exhibitions there about racism, community activism and women’s history among others.
4) Get away from the crowds
The city centre of Edinburgh can be overwhelmingly busy – especially in the summer. One of my favourite places to escape the crowds when it gets too much, is the Royal Botanic Garden between Stockbridge and Leith. It is home to one of the largest plant collections in the world. The Glasshouses are currently closed for refurbishment as part of the Edinburgh Biome project, but you can still visit the exterior parts of the garden.
5) Explore beyond the historic city centre
Many people who visit Edinburgh stick to the historic city centre and visit the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. But if you ask me, it’s really worth exploring the city beyond the centre. Go for a wander along the Water of Leith, hop around coffee shops in Bruntsfield or Stockbridge, or mingle with locals at the pubs of Leith.