Wilfred Owen's Edinburgh 1917-2017

Representatives from Edinburgh’s Education, Arts and Literary Community are working with charities in the Veteran Sector commemorate the life of the war poet Wilfred Owen throughout 2017. 

A programme of events will mark the time he spent in Edinburgh during 1917 as a patient of the Craiglockhart War Hospital for Officers suffering from neurasthenia (more commonly known as shell shock).

Charting well documented dates from Owen’s four months in Edinburgh, the wide-ranging events programme will include high profile lectures, guided walks and tours, a competition for schools, re-enactments, music and poetry readings. 

The Committee of organisations known as Wilfred Owen’s Edinburgh 1917-2017 is Chaired by Neil McLennan, Senior Lecturer and Director of Leadership Programmes at the University of Aberdeen and includes representatives from:

The Alliance of Literary Societies, Baberton Golf Club, The Balmoral Hotel, Caledonian Sleeper, City Art Centre, City of Edinburgh Council, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Napier University, Filmhouse, Glen Art, Historic Environment Scotland, Mercat Tours, Network Rail, Pentland Rangers Regional Park, Poppy Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s War, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Portrait Gallery, Scots in the Great War re-enactment society, Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, University of Aberdeen, Wilfred Owen Association, Wilfred Owen Violin, Woodland Trust.

Event Listings (scroll down for the full list):

Relaunch of the War Poets Collection

November 2016
A special light projection featuring a host of dramatic images relating to Craiglockhart, and audio recordings of War Poetry, was on public display in the evenings leading up to the Armistice, as part of the relaunch of the War Poets Collection.

100 Years of Remembrance

2-4 June 2017
Military charity Glen Art created a poignant garden at this year's Gardening Scotland Show. Awarded a Silver Medal and People's Choice Award, they partnered with the Wilfred Owen Association and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorating the centenery of the CWGC and of Wilfred Owen's stay at Craiglockhart in 1917.

Alliance of Literary Societies, Literary Weekend

2-4 June 2017
A weekend of talks, tours and conversation about books and writers organised and hosted by the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship and the Wilfred Owen Association was held at historic Craiglockhart.

Wilfred’s Walk

Princes Street 8.30 - 9.00am 26 June 2017
Watch the re-enactment of Wilfred Owen’s historic walk along Princes Street exactly 100 years ago, when he arrived in Edinburgh to attend Craiglockhart War Hospital. An actor dressed in replica uniform to Wilfred Owen, will be joined by the pipers of Princes Street and Thoren Ferguson playing the Wilfred Owen violin.

1917: the turning point of the war?

Lecture by Professor Sir Hew Strachan 6.00 – 8.00pm 26 June 2017
Hear from Scottish military historian and expert in the history of the WW1, who will give a public lecture at Craiglockhart, to commemorate the date when Officer Wilfred Owen first arrived to be treated as a patient suffering from Shell Shock. Thoren Ferguson will also play the Wilfred Owen violin.

Writing workshop and guided walks

Walking with Wilfred Owen 11.00am 10 August 21 October 2017.
Retrace the route which Wilfred Owen and the Craiglockhart War Hospital Field Club walked 100 years ago to the day. Discover the impact the Pentland Hills had on Wilfred Owen stories as told by historian Neil McLennan along the way. Writer Helen Boden will lead creative writing sessions to accompany and complement the walks.

Wilfred Owen's Edinburgh Enlightenment

RSE Lecture by Neil McLennan 6.30-8.30pm 15 August
Hear from historian Neil McLennan who has been researching Owen’s time in Edinburgh for the last 10 years, to better understand his experience and the influence which the capital city of literature and enlightenment had on the Great War Poet. Thoren Ferguson will also play the Wilfred Owen violin.

Scotland's National Poet Jackie Kay on Wilfred Owen

1.30pm 16 August 2017
Internationally acclaimed writer and Scotland’s national poet Jackie Kay premieres her new poem, commissioned specially to mark the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s time in Edinburgh.

Screening of ‘Regeneration’

Filmhouse, Edinburgh 6-8pm 17 August 2017
A screening of the 1997 British film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Pat Barker. Regeneration, Directed by Gillies MacKinnon, tells the story of Britain’s most important poets, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon meet at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, where they have been sent to convalesce.

War Poets Collection from Craiglockhart

Edinburgh International Book Festival 12-12:45pm 16/17/18 August 
Drop in to see the fascinating War Poets Collection of Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus. Formerly a war hospital, the building was the place where the war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon famously met during the First World War. Curator Catherine Walker is on hand to give a short talk and guide you.

W is for Wilfred Owen - A celebration of an acclaimed poet

City Art Centre, 2.00-4.00 pm 17 August 2017
Hear Catherine Walker, curator of the War Poets exhibition at Craiglockhart, give a talk on Wilfred Owen, hear some special poems and Scottish Fiddler Thoren Ferguson will lead guests round the galleries by playing tunes on the Wilfred Owen violin.

When Wilfred met Siegfried

Craiglockhart 2.00pm 18 August 2017
Hear the war poems composed there in the summer of 1917 by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, recited by Sam Gray of the Wilfred Owen Association and David Wilson of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, with extracts from their letters and diaries, read by Yvonne Morris.

Launch of the new Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress

A conference to launch the Rivers Centre’s new campus at Fountainbridge will be held to inform people about the new expanded, open access service available for people affected by trauma across the Lothians.

War Poets Hole in One: Baberton Golf Club

13 October 2017
Wilfred Owen’s time in Edinburgh resulted in a meeting between the poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, and a third Robert Graves. Neil McLennan recently unravelled a series of clues found hidden in the archives of Southern Illinois University, which pinpoint the location where the trio united – Baberton Golf Club in Juniper Green.

Wilfred Owen 100 Years Later

Scottish Poetry Library 6.30-7.30pm November 3 2017
100 years after Wilfred Owen left Edinburgh after a transformative stay in Edinburgh, a panel discusses Owen’s legacy. How did Edinburgh change his poems? Featuring broadcaster and author Trevor Royle and Owen expert Neil McLennan, this event is provided by the Scottish Poetry Library in partnership with the Wilfred Owen Association.

Lead partners