Side by side on Leith Walk

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Praskipark on October 10, 2012

On a bright early morning in June of this year we managed to get a good look at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Edinburgh which is opposite Greenside Place and close to a busy roundabout. When I had decided that I had taken enough photographs I thought it would be a good idea to cross the road and walk on the other side where I spied another handsome church facade.

Crossing the road took a while as the traffic was manic but eventually we managed to cross at a spot which took us to the Cafe Habana and the Playhouse Theatre. Both of these buildings were very attractive in their own ways and the walkway in front of the buildings, Leith Walk, was reasonably quiet.

I do believe that Greenside Place at one time was a thriving commercial area. During the 1970s, 13 outlets were open for business and doing well. The 80s passed without incident and then unfortunately in the 90s the area went into decline. Retail outlets located at No 2 through to No 16 were demolished. Number 17, Hillside Church, was partially demolished leaving only the front facade standing.

By this time the area was due to be redeveloped, transforming the site into a centre incorporating a multiplex cinema, health centre and hotel. Progress was at first slow due to financial problems but eventually the centre was finished in November 2002. Now, this area houses the Omni Centre and standing in front of the glass frontage are two metal giraffes. I was very pleased to come across these two fellas as I am very fond of metal giraffes. One of my favourite sculptures in Warsaw is of a giraffe placed in Park Praski in Praga.

The giraffes were placed in front of the Omni Centre and unveiled in July 2008. They are not the same height and are made from pieces of scap metal which are dull in colour rather than shiny. The tallest giraffe is 22 feet high. Both sculptures are not solid and there are many gaping holes in their faces, necks and bodies. This design makes the sculpture more abstract and interesting to look at.

I think the positioning of the two giraffes is excellent, in front of the giant sized glass windows of the Omni Centre. You can have a field day looking at all the reflections created by the sun on the windows. If you stand at the side of the giraffes you are able to get a sweeping view of Leith Walk.

The artist/sculptor who created the giraffes was born in Roslin in the Midlothian region of Scotland. The talented lady has a love of animals and is known for creating animal statues that have been placed in other parts of the United Kingdom and on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

I was very pleased to see that this eastern part of Leith Walk had been re-invented and a new life had been given to the area with the Omni Centre and its giraffes. I was also pleased to see that the Playhouse Theatre was still standing and that the front facade of Hillside Church had been spared and integrated into the building of the new centre.
Omni Centre
Greenside Place
Edinburgh, Scotland
0131 524 7770

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