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Bust up in Edinburgh Hostelry

When Scottish folklorist Hamish Henderson died in 2002, members of Edinburgh Folk Club commissioned a paper maché bust of the great man. The bust naturally found a comfortable home in the Edinburgh folk music pub, Sandy Bell's. Henderson's real office was Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies, which he'd helped to create in the 1950s, but he would often be found in his ‘unofficial office’, Sandy Bell's, a mere stone's throw away.

A few years after Hamish died, the National Museum asked for a loan of the bust for their 21st century gallery and ever since then, there has been a notable gap atop the gantry in Sandy Bell's, bemoaned by many a folkie.

Now, however, Penicuik-based artist Jan Miller has come to the rescue by making another bust of the great man. It was unveiled on 9 November, two days before what would have been Hamish's 96th birthday, as part of this year's Carrying Stream Festival, Edinburgh Folk Club's celebration of the folklorist, poet, songwriter, soldier and activist.

A quirky feature of the bust is that the surface is made with pages of Hamish's writing, and another nice touch is that Jan Miller has also made a smaller bust of a younger Hamish for Kätzel, Hamish's widow.

A major documentary film about Hamish Henderson is also currently being made by Bees Nees. The film company has been interviewing key singers and people who knew him personally, as well as filming sessions in Sandy Bell’s.