Edinburgh Castle celebrates the start of 2008 tourism by unveiling striking new uniforms for visitor services staff
2 April 2008
To herald the start of the 2008 tourism season, Edinburgh Castle’s visitor services staff have a smart and stylish new look – a striking new uniform featuring the Edinburgh Castle Tartan, which has been designed exclusively for Scotland’s leading visitor attraction.
The distinctive new uniforms and tartan have been created as part of Historic Scotland’s strategy to strengthen Edinburgh Castle’s status as a world-class attraction by generating heightened focus on its unique identity and character, and its significance as a national symbol and iconic heritage site.
Visitor services staff, including stewards and ticket office personnel, accompanied by Edinburgh Castle Executive Manager Barbara Smith, today showed off their new uniforms. These feature kilts and tartan trousers in the Edinburgh Castle Tartan, complemented by black wool jackets and cloaks. Several variations of the ensemble have been designed to suit both male and female, all ages and personal preferences.
Woven just a stone’s throw from the Castle, the tartan is a rich blend of black, gold and robe, a shade of red, set against charcoal. The colours are those of Edinburgh Castle’s brand identity which was launched in the autumn to create a stronger visual image for the attraction and each signifies characteristics of the Castle such as its mighty presence and role as guardian of the nation’s treasures.
Barbara Smith said: “We are delighted with these striking new uniforms and to have, for the first time, our very own tartan. The prominent visual statement which they convey reflects the prestige of the attraction as well as making our visitor services team members more identifiable. I’m confident our sharp new look will be as popular with visitors as it is with the team here and will help visitors enjoy an even more memorable impression of Edinburgh Castle.
“The introduction of the new uniforms and tartan are an important part of our efforts to develop the Edinburgh Castle brand created to increase global awareness of the unique character and significance of Scotland’s top attraction. They are also integral to the Edinburgh Castle Visitor Reception Project to enhance services for visitors and ensure they enjoy a truly world-class experience and an unforgettable day out.”
Now in its final stages, this £2.7 million Project was designed to provide a warmer welcome for visitors and an enhanced overall experience of the attraction, to cut queues, and make entry and exit to the castle quicker and easier. Many major Project milestones - such as the removal of the old ticket office on the Esplanade to allow uninterrupted views of the Castle on arrival, the creation of a new ticket office, visitor reception area and streamlined new ticketing system, and launch of Edinburgh Castle’s own official website - have already been completed.
At Edinburgh Castle today to see Castle staff in their new uniforms was Howie Nicholsby, the young Scottish designer who created the Edinburgh Castle Tartan and assisted Historic Scotland with the design of various elements of the uniform. Howie, of leading Edinburgh-based kiltmakers Geoffrey (Tailor) and 21st Century Kilts, is renowned internationally for promoting kilts and tartan. He has worked with VisitScotland to promote Scotland’s tartan and kilt-making industry throughout the world and has designed tartans for several leading Scottish organisations.
Howie said: “Designing a tartan for such an iconic Scottish symbol as Edinburgh Castle was a real honour. The new tartan and uniforms will represent the Castle and be seen by millions of visitors to Scotland so I was delighted to be involved in their creation. I’m also proud that the tartan was woven at our Geoffrey (Tailor) weaving mill on Castle Hill, so it was not only designed here in Edinburgh but also woven by local craftsmen, practically on the Castle’s doorstep.”
Notes for editors
- Launched in October, Edinburgh Castle’s brand identity and logo were created to give the property a distinctive, stronger image in recognition of its status as Scotland’s leading visitor attraction and icon of Scotland.
- The brand colours of black, gold and robe, which are used in the new Edinburgh Castle Tartan, signify characteristics of the Castle, its history and significance, and everything that it represents. Black symbolises the Castle’s defence and fortification roles and its sheer might, power and strength. The colour is prominent in the Castle in many elements, such as ironwork, studding on doors, cannons and armoury. Gold symbolises the Castle’s role as a guardian of the nation and its treasures such as the Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. Robe, the colour of royalty, is a reference to the Castle’s past role as royal residence of Scotland’s kings and queens. It also symbolises confidence, referring to the Castle’s proud standing within the capital, the country, and internationally, and its role of the setting for many prestigious events. Robe is also the colour of royalty and of the confident Scottish lion rampant visible in the Castle’s logo of the lion 'defender of the nation'.
- Around 1.2 million visitors pass through the doors of Edinburgh Castle each year to enjoy its historic buildings and architecture. The top attractions are:
- i.The Honours of Scotland – the nation’s crown jewels
- ii.The Stone of Destiny – the coronation stone of the ancient kings of Scots.
- iii.The Great Hall, Laich Hall, King’s Dining Room and St Margaret’s Chapel some of the remarkable medieval rooms and buildings where kings, queens and great nobles wined, dined and worshipped.
- iv.The Prisons of War Experience – thousands of military prisoners were held in the castle over the centuries. There is now a major recreation of what it was like at the end of the 18th century when men of many nations languished in its vaults.
- v.National War Memorial - an impressive building commemorating those who have died in conflict from World War I onwards. There are also three military museums at the castle.
- vi.Mons Meg – a huge medieval siege gun that fired stones weighing 150kg (330lbs) for 3.2km (two miles).
- vii.The One O’clock Gun – fired daily, except the Sabbath and certain holidays, as a time signal.
- viii.The Dog Cemetery – the last resting place of regimental mascots and the faithful friends of many officers.
- Edinburgh Castle is one of 345 heritage properties and sites from the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, in the care of Historic Scotland. Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. In addition to Edinburgh Castle, some of the most popular are Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Skara Brae, and the Border Abbeys. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places
- Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.