The canalside garden has been tidied up for the winter by Scott – grateful thanks – some of the weeds were higher than the decking posts! The planters on the decking now have bulbs which will spring into life in 2019. Great news is that our Nurses Garden to be planned with Yvonne McEwen of Scotland’s War has received a very generous grant of £1,000 from Scotmid. This will be used to create a stone bench on the land to the left of the decking. Watch this space for developments in Spring 2019. There have been generous donations totalling £750 to add signage and plants to commemorate those who transported injured WW1 troops by barge in France and Flanders.

COME AND JOIN US ON SUNDAY 23 DECEMBER AT 4PM IN THE CHURCH GARDEN TO SING CAROLS ACROSS THE CANAL. Warming soup, bread and cake will be served inside afterwards. Please bring a torch. Donations received will be given to EMBRACE THE MIDDLE EAST (whose carol sheets we will be using). Wrap up warm.



Flotilla of Light

A Flotilla of approximately 14 barges has been arranged to cruise the Union Canal from Almond Aqueduct to Leamington Bridge on Saturday 24th November. As dusk falls this will become a Flotilla of Light between Slateford Aqueduct and Leamington Bridge.

The Flotilla will take 10 – 15 minutes to pass any point and residents and towpath users are welcome to wave the Flotilla through their communities at approximately the following times:

11:00am: Depart from Almond Aqueduct
12:00noon: Ratho
1:00pm: Hermiston Bridge (number 10) lunch-stop
2:30pm: Depart from Hermiston Bridge towards Wester Hailes
3:45pm: Slateford Aqueduct to prepare decorations and lights
4:15pm: Depart Slateford as an organised Flotilla towards Edinburgh
5:00pm: Harrison Park
5:30pm: Leamington Bridge

It is hoped this will become an annual event with more boats joining the flotilla, and for communities to become involved and light the way.


£300 was made at this event and we were grateful for the sponsorship provided by George Watson’s College and Scotmid.















Saturday 8 September 2 – 4 pm we will celebrate the third anniversary of the opening of the canalside gardens. We hope you can join us for Pizza and Pavlova and refreshments. Scotmid and George Watson’s College have kindly sponsored the event.









Come and see the pontoon. There is still no access to the canalside gardens but we are having visiting narrowboats hooking up and using our facilities. A new garden is being created to the right of the patio path in front of the noticeboard. Thank you to Eleanor for helping us with this.








The Polwarth Pontoon was officially opened on Saturday 16th June 2018 as part of the Edinburgh Canal Festival and Raft Race when over 100 people from the community gathered to celebrate this exciting development.

This opening launches our FLOAT THE BOAT fund to raise sufficient money to purchase a narrowboat. The narrowboat will be the mobile basis of a project nurturing wholeness and wellbeing from our unique canal-side location. The project will engage young people in the natural and cultural aspects of the Union Canal while developing skills both practical and personal. Working with families and across generations the narrowboat will become a welcoming space and promote community cohesion. For the Story So Far click on the above image and share this exciting project with your friends.










Previously …

The pontoon work is still ongoing but we hope to have everything completed for the Canal Festival in June when we will have our usual afternoon tea. More news of this to follow later. The canal garden sign was missing for a few weeks after being battered by storms. Bernd has restored it to its former glory and erected it on the posts once more. Also he mended the noticeboard facing the canal so notices about different activities can be advertised to those who come down the steps, across the patio path to sit on our decking.









Snow photos from March.






Work is ongoing on the ramp. Scottish Canals are working in the freezing weather and in the sunshine some days to complete the work. 2018 will be a great year for the canalside garden. Access canalside will be possible when all the safety measures have been introduced.

Pontoon ramp under way 15.12.17Pontoon 18.12.17

39 people joined us to sing out Christmas Carols over the Union Canal. We then enjoyed a cup of hot soup and festive nibbles. Just over £70 was raised for Embrace the Middle East. Thanks to everyone who joined us.

Carols by the Canal c 17.12.17 Carols by the Canal a 17.12.17Carols by the Canal b 17.12.17

Our friends from Scottish Canals continue to work away in the cold and rain to work on the pontoon. The ramp is being prepared so there will be access to the pontoon in the new year. The garden is not looking its best at this time but we know 2018 will be a great time as opportunities open up as the canalside garden moves on with the Float the Boat initiative. If you join the Music and Movies night in the sanctuary this Friday, 15 December you will have a great time, with donations being taken for Float the Boat.  Have a great Christmas season and we will see you in the gardens in 2018.

THE ORIGINAL WAR HORSE AT POLWARTH CHURCH 6.45PM – THE SILENT FILM ‘A COUPLE OF DOWN AND OUTS’ WAS SHOWN THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER.  A FANTASTIC SPECTACULAR FILM WAS ENJOYED BY 35 PEOPLE. Thank you to Yvonne and Alistair McEwen of Scotland’s War who gave us the opportunity to show this film and to the BFI who sent us the DVD –  a fitting tribute as part of the WW1 commemorations. Yvonne will be helping us in the new year prepare a garden to the left of the decking and behind the pontoon to honour medical personnel who moved wounded soldiers by barge through Flanders and France in WW1. Watch that space!

November News Update

Pontoon 9.11.17Pontoon 8.11.17Pontoon 6.11.17Working on the pontoon 6.11.17


Keep watching for more photographs.

Great news received – Scottish Canals begin work at our canalside garden this week 6 November, putting in a pontoon and three moorings. Two moorings will be for boats visiting the area for a day (no overnight stay) and one for the community narrowboat for Polwarth Church. The work is expected to last for six weeks. So in the Spring we will be able to seek grants for the narrowboat.
Due to our association with Scotlands War, we have the unique opportunity of showing the film A Couple Of Down and Outs. We are very privileged to be able to do this through Alistair and Yvonne McEwen of Scotland’s War and the British Film Industry. This is part of our Remembrance commemorations. We would love to have a full church and it will be a great night. Hope to see you then. More details below to wet your appetite.


                          A COUPLE of DOWN and OUTS – a short synopsis

Our hero, Corporal Daniel Creath, DCM, ex-Royal Horse Artillery, has come home from the first world war to find himself homeless, workless, unwanted, in fact thoroughly down and out in all respects. After four years of service enduring the horrors of the battlefields of the Somme and Flanders, his one remaining memento of the war is the faded ribbon of the bravery award he had earned. The citation had reported how he struggled to get his horse drawn heavy artillery pieces through the mud and under fire to save a desperate situation overwhelming his infantry colleagues.

Danny, in his search for work in docklands, sees a number of war-worn horses being driven through the dock gates to be shipped abroad for slaughter. Recognising one of the weary animals was from the pair he had handled in terrible battle conditions for so long, he rushes out of the crowd, jumps on his old horsed bare back and races off, unfortunately knocking down a policeman in the process.

Later, we find Danny tired, dejected and hungry, sheltering in what appears to be a deserted stable yard. Searching for food for himself and feed for his animal, he is surprised by the completely calm voice of a young girl, enquiring what exactly he thought he was doing there. But, taking pity, she gives him the first square meal he has had for days. While Danny wolfs it down, Molly finds feed for his horse and then listens to the story he blurts out – the impulsive horse stealing episode with the assault of a police officer adding to the seriousness of his offence. Molly is not only concerned by the constant bad luck endured by this brave ex-soldier since the war, she has also noticed the grubby medal ribbon on his tattered coat.

It will be no surprise that a charming little love story develops between the two young people. It soon emerges that the felled policeman is actually Molly’s own father, Police Sergeant Roake, a kindly man who nevertheless recognises that the recipient of his daughter’s benevolence is, in fact, the horse thief who knocked him to the ground. But, he, too, is sympathetic to the plight of the soldier, having also observed the faded bravery symbol he is wearing.

Now… watch on as the story of this 94-year old GB Samuelson film unfolds, benefiting from digital projection.

Sir Sydney Samuelson’s notes:

I first saw a (non-restored) version of my father’s film at a silent film festive at Pordenone, Italy, some years ago, soon after it had been found in a set of rusty 35mm film cans. Having been ‘lost’ for about 80 years, the film copy was in poor condition due to chemical deterioration of the celluloid based images. What we are seeing now is the result of a caring, skillful and altogether brilliant restoration by the BFI Archive experts in Berkhampstead. Our family congratulations and appreciation go to them happily, enthusiastically and thankfully.

Danny Creath, DCM is played by Captain REX DAVIS MC, a courageous infantry officer who served with valour throughout the First World War. He was himself awarded the Military Cross for ‘Consistent bravery when overcoming dangerous situations.’

Molly Roake is played by EDNA BEST. After making A Couple of Down and Outs, she acted in other Samuelson films and then Hollywood called. The last UK film she appeared in was South Riding (1938) with Sir Ralph Richardson and Ann Todd.

The screenplay came about after my father read a short story in Strand Magazine. Believing it had the making of a movie, he asked a member of’ Worton Hall Studio staff to develop it to feature film length and to create the appropriate production values. WALTER SUMMERS subsequently was given his newly written script as his own first assignment as Director. He had served as a Lieutenant in the 12th battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, also winning the Military Cross. He became renowned for his direction of battle scenes


Our next event before Christmas is the Carols by the Canal on Sunday 17 December at 4pm. We will sing carols from the Bethlehem Carols Sheet chosen by yourselves. A cup of soup will be served at the end to warm you on your way home.



What a morning we had serving at least 70 breakfasts to those who joined us for our second anniversary celebration of the opening of the canalside garden. The weather did not allow us to eat outside but that did not stop the fun. Thanks to all the helpers who made the event such a successful. Also thanks to W. T. Dunbar & Sons and Scotmid who donated food to be served and others who gave us other breakfast items. Special thanks also to the Guides and their leaders who joined us and had a stall, raising £28.50 for our funds and eating breakfast with us. In total we raised £420 for Float the Boat. Every pound raised helps move us forward to our goal of buying a narrowboat to be moored at the bottom of our canalside garden to be used by the church and the community.


Polwarth Church poster for Birthday Breakfast 9 September

Scottish Canals are starting work very soon clearing the plants in front of our canalside garden in readiness for putting in a floating pontoon which can accommodate three boats. One will be our community narrowboat and the other two for visiting boats. So very soon we can launch our FLOAT THE BOAT project. Come along to the Birthday Breakfast and find out more. We will have breakfast outside weather permitting; if not we are in the Drennan Hall.


The Friends of the Polwarth Canal Garden Blog can now be found on these pages. Thank you to all our supporters who help us.

Saturday 17 June saw a great Coffee Afternoon at the church gardens as part of the Canal Festival, raising £480 for the Float the Boat project. This was followed by the fantastic news that permission has been granted by Historic Scotland for Scottish Canals to make a pontoon at our canalside garden where there will be three moorings – one for the church narrowboat (the Float the Boat project) and two for visiting boats. This will not be for residential moorings which was originally planned and there will be no water or electricity at the site. Watch this space for the date for the start of this work: all very exciting as the second phase of our work goes into action. This added to the Polwarth Canal Shed makes for exciting times. If you visit Polwarth Church website you will find pictures and information about the coffee afternoon and details of the canalside garden and Polwarth Canal Shed in an article on the Church of Scotland website

The Tranquillity Garden is benefitting from the rain we are having and this saves volunteers from using the water bucket and watering cans to keep the plants vibrant. If you haven’t visited recently, please do so. We remember our friend Ray Howie and his gardening veteran friends at this time, especially as tomorrow celebrates Armed Forces Day. Without Ray’s inspiration we would not have this garden for you to enjoy. We wish Ray improved health. We thank the Polwarth Canal Shed for their help with weeding and watering in the Tranquillity Garden, the church gardens and the canalside garden.

Great news for our Tranquillity Garden which remained bare of flowers – it has been planted up due to the generosity of members of Polwarth Church congregation who provided the money and members of the Canal Shed who helped clear the beds and others who planted. The rain eventually came so now the beds are well watered.

Tranquillity Garden 2 1.6.17Sign Tiphereth made and sponsored by Santander Polwarth Church Gardens Edinburgh 6.17
Our friends at Tiphereth, who created and made the new sign denoting The Church Garden, The Polwarth Canal Gardena and The Tranquillity Garden, ‘planted’ it in the rain on Tuesday last. Grateful thanks to them for their hard work. Alex and David from the Polwarth Canal Shed are making a planter to go underneath the sign. The two large beds, due to have the Church logo and the MOD logo in flowers when our special friend Ray Howie is well enough to lead the work next year, have been planted identically and the four smaller beds either side of the Wilfred Owen stone will contain begonias shortly. This all came in good time for our coffee afternoon on Saturday 17th June 2 – 4 pm as part of the Canal Festival.
 The canalside garden is looking splendid with a new addition – a wooden duck sitting proudly near the decking and looking out into the waters – an anonymous gift – so thank you for your generosity. He will be joined shortly by the bee ceramic created by members of the Polwarth Canal Shed and two bird boxes.

Polwarth Canal Shed Ceramic Bee finished 6.17

May 2017

Canalside garden weeded 4.17Heron at our Canalside garden 4.17Willie - Beeman

PCS Aland and Scott 22.3.17Scott has been busy 4.17Scotland's War gardenChurch Garden Easter Monday 2017 (2) APRIL 2107

Somme 100 Rose planted by Ray Howie Remembrance Sunday NOVEMBER 2016


10th September 2016 we celebrated a year of The Polwarth Canal Garden being opened.

croquet-at-garden-party-10-9-16fabulous-gateaux-for-the-bateau-garden-party-10-9-16auld-spice-band-10-9-16-garden-partythe-polwarth-canal-garden-october-2016church-garden-by-patio-path-october-2016decking-at-the-polwarth-canal-garden-october-2016church-garden-october-2016Thank you to all our gardeners.

Summer 2015 getting The Polwarth Canal Garden reading for opening in September.



The Polwarth Canal Garden was opened September 2015, with thanks to the Armed Forces Community Covenant our main sponsors and everyone else who helped this dream become a reality.