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A Look Back in Time: The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh

I am turning into my Mother. Whenever a youth asks me where the Picturehouse is I say, "You mean Revolution?". My Mum still refuses to call the Festival Theatre anything other than the Pally - much the same as the now Waldorf Astoria remains The Caley Hotel.

David McLean, founder of Lost Edinburgh, knows more than most when it comes to keeping the history of Edinburgh alive. He began the project in 1999, after seeing an Edinburgh Evening News supplement (where he now works) with an image featuring his Grandfather.

His family didn't know the shot existed, but it sparked something in David. So much so that he spent a joyous afternoon with his Grandad, reliving his past and sharing tales that would otherwise be lost. And so Lost Edinburgh was born - an online hub of people living or loving Edinburgh and sharing memories that should never be forgotten.

The tale comes full circle then, when the now Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh got in touch to say how much they loved David's curated images of the hotel and train station as it used to be and would he mind coming along to tell people a bit about the history.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of the Lost Edinburgh exhibition with images gathered from the hotel archives and various other sources including the News. The staff shared tales of how they are meticulously piecing the Hotel's history together and restoring as much as possible; mosaics hidden under flooring, the side entrance gates restored to their original colours, imagery adorning the walls that was shut away in cupboards - it is a huge undertaking, but given the sites prominence over the decades, hugely important.

The curated images all embody the theme of people, and it is people that will make this exhibition so successful. Before it officially opened today, people were trying to take a peek inside and hoardes of people are enquiring to when they can take a peek.

If you live in the city, have never been to Peacock Alley in the hotel or simply have an interest in history, I advise you to pop along. Whats more, stay tunes for some exciting tours that the Hotel will be offering in the near future.

Uncovering Edinburgh’s Lost Station Exhibition runs at The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, Princes Street, from Friday, July 27. Entry is free.

Thank you to Talking Canvas for the invite.

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