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A Man for Our Times: The Living Legacy of Patrick Geddes

Riddle's Court Archway © WEA Riddle’s Court Photography Group

Vivendo Discimus (By Living We Learn) inscribed above the archway in the entrance to the inner courtyard of Riddle’s Court. Geddes renovated Riddle’s Court to become a University Student Hall of Residence (1890) as part of his plans for the reinvigoration of the Old Town

Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was a biologist, educationalist, pioneer of the environmental movement and architect of the regeneration of Edinburgh’s Old Town. His life, work and ideas hold a fascination for WEA members and learners and in recent years we have held many study days and short courses to learn more about his philosophy and the importance of his ideas today. 

Building on this work and the Friends of Riddle’s Court’s “Rethinking the City” event in October 2010, this educational film explores the life of Patrick Geddes, his philosophy, examples of how he translated his ideas into action, and importantly his influence today. The making of the film was supported by Education Scotland in order to promote interest, discussion and action on sustainable development. 

A range of people and organisations contributed their knowledge, ideas and content to the film including The Sir Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust; the family of Patrick Geddes; Edinburgh University, Strathclyde University and the National Library of Scotland archives; Friends of Riddle’s Court Edinburgh (Force) and people working and learning in the fields of education, botany, town planning, biodiversity, education and the arts. 

The film is available on the Education Scotland website as a teaching tool for adult and community groups across Scotland.


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