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Portrait of a Craigmillar Artist.
February 17 World Community Arts Day.


Hal Petch was born in Edinburgh in 1933; he was brought up in the south side of the city and has strong family connections with the Craigmillar area. He has for many years been interested in Craigmillar Castle and its history


Craigmillar Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Scotland, Hal first visited it when he was Fifteen years old and over the years has visited it on many occasions.


Hals interest in the ruins was boosted when he moved to the Craigour area of Edinburgh and from his back garden he had a perfect view of the castle.


Hal has visited a lot of Castles over the years both in Scotland and England But Craigmillar is by far his most favourite.  After retiring from his job as a self employed Joiner at the age of 65 Hal found himself with time on his hands and decided that he would like to build a scaled version of Craigmillar Castle.


With the help of family members he was able to obtain a scaled drawing from Historic Scotland of Craigmillar Castle, he then set about drawing up plans of how to attempt to build this.


He first had a plinth built for him from wire mesh and concrete blocks to a height which made it comfortable for him to work at, this was a covered in a screed with a sand and cement mixture to give it a rock like appearance.


Over the course of a year he built the castle stone by stone using small granite chips and a mixture of sand and cement mortar mix to bind them, this was a painstaking exercise as no detail was left out.


He ensured that all the rooms were complete even down to the smallest detail for example, fireplaces were created and tiled floors were added for his own satisfaction even though these rooms are not seen from the outside of the finished castle. One feature that can be seen is the small oak windows, which were glazed to keep out the elements and of course the wasps.


One of the trickiest parts to build was the vaulted ceiling of the great hall; this also included structures being built from timber, for example floor and ceiling joists which were originally part of the castle structure.


Hal constructed the castle to look like as it did in the sixteenth century, this meant constructing a roof with rafters and tiles where only a ruined section survives.


This task was painstaking but the finished article has given him and his family great pleasure.


For more of Hal`s work Click here and select slide show

Thanks for dropping by and looking at The work of Hal Petch, for World Community Arts Day


Craigmillar Links

World Communitity Arts Day 2007

Historic Craigmillar Castle

Niddrie Tripod

Andrew Crummy`s web site