Page last updated at 18:07 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Hotel works reveal stained glass

Chambermaid Swati Chowdhury at the window
Chambermaid Swati Chowdhury shows off the window at the hotel in Edinburgh

An unusual stained glass window panel has been uncovered during renovation work at an Edinburgh hotel.

The window had been obscured for decades and has only come to light during a refurbishment of the Fraser Suites hotel in St Giles Street.

Inscribed on it is, Vivendo discimus, Latin for "By living we learn".

The motto has led experts to agree the panel is almost certainly linked to the work of Sir Patrick Geddes, who was known for his work in urban planning.

Sir Patrick, who worked at Edinburgh University, was born in 1854.

The windows are definitely a Geddes connection if the stained glass bears the legend 'Vivendo discimus'
John Lowrey
University of Edinburgh

Working and teaching from the Camera Obscura Outlook Tower in Edinburgh, Sir Patrick developed and played a large part in much of the renovation of the capital's Royal Mile including the building of Ramsay Gardens next to Edinburgh Castle.

The St Giles Street building dates back to the 1860s where it was the location for the Edinburgh Courant - one of the UK's first regional newspapers.

Heather Gilchrist, Fraser Suites Scottish regional manager, said: "We were amazed at the various fixtures and features we found, not more so than the beautiful stained glass panels with the 'Vivendo discimus' wording.

"They had been hidden away for years. We're not even sure if people knew they existed before."

John Lowrey, senior lecturer in architectural history at the school of arts, culture and environment at Edinburgh University, said: "The windows are definitely a Geddes connection if the stained glass bears the legend 'Vivendo discimus'.

"This is the inscription Geddes put on the buildings he used as University halls of residences, it was even on the crockery in the dining rooms.

"The fact that the crest is similar to the university's is a clincher because, of course, these were not actually university halls, they were simply part of Geddes' attempt to create a collegiate enclave in the St Giles/Lawnmarket area."

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