Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 13:57 UK

Writer's block hits empty offices

Shop windows in South St David Street

Giant poetic quotations have been placed in the windows of empty business premises in the centre of Edinburgh.

The buildings on South St David Street and St Andrew Square have quotes from writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexander McCall Smith.

The quotations, which range over six storeys, have been dubbed the "writer's block" by Essential Edinburgh, the city's business improvement district.

The £20,000 project aims to enhance the appearance of the city centre.

The site, close to Edinburgh's main shopping street, is owned by property firm Stockland.

The firm had planned to demolish the buildings and build retail, office and residential premises.

It is quite lovely - bits of it
Oscar Wilde

However it has abandoned plans until the market picks up.

Nearby St Andrew Square Gardens, which was redesigned and opened to the public last year, has been designated as a poetry garden.

Tom Campbell, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: "We are committed to improving the environment of the city centre, and we felt the windows of these buildings represented an opportunity to do something that helps promote the city, but does so in a way in keeping with St Andrew Square's status as a poetry garden.

Jenny Dawe, leader of Edinburgh City Council, said "I am delighted to support such a creative use of public space in the city. Edinburgh has strong literary connections and I'm sure residents and visitors alike will enjoy and appreciate the quotations on public display."

The banners include quotes from literary figures such as GK Chesterton and Iain Crichton Smith.

The city even gains the approval - albeit conditional - of Oscar Wilde, who is quoted as saying: "It is quite lovely - bits of it".

Other quotes include one from Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting: "But when ye come back oot ay Waverley Station eftir being away fir a bit, ye think: Hi, this isnae bad."

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