Picture by JANE BARLOW
4 August  2014

Instrument-maker Steve Burnett holds the 'Wilfred Owen' violin, which he made this year, in the poppy meadow at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The violin has extraordinary historical associations and has been made for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. Today, Monday 4 August marks the 100th anniversary of Britain’s declaration of war. The violin has been made from the branch of a tree taken from the grounds of the former Craiglockhart hospital in Edinburgh. It was here, during the First World War that the Edinburgh hydropathic establishment became an important military psychiatric hospital for the treatment of shell-shocked officers. Most well-known of the patients was war poet. Wilfred Owen.

© Jane Barlow 2014 {all rights reserved}
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Revered violinist Maxim Vengerov, in Edinburgh for a sold out recital at the Usher Hall last night, took time to handle the Wilfred Owen violin, a commemorative violin crafted to mark the centenary of World War One.

Maxim Vengerov 3
Maxim Vengerov with the Wilfred Owen violin

The violin, which was created from a sycamore tree in the grounds of the Craiglockhart War Hospital where famous war poet Wilfred Owen was a patient in 1917, has previously been endorsed by Vengerov, also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, as “an envoy for peace and reconciliation through the power of music.”

The instrument has been played at a number of key events to promote its message of peace and is also taken into schools to encourage pupils to reflect on the horrors of World War One, consider the plight of those living through warfare today, and think about ways in which peace and reconciliation can best be served.

The violin is one of many projects, initiatives and events taking place throughout the centenary of World War One to inform people about Scotland’s unique contribution to the conflict, remember the sacrifices made, and reflect on what can, and should, be learned from the war which was meant to end all wars.

For more information about the Wilfred Owen violin, click here.