Activities banned in parks 100 years ago are finally being relaxed


By Sam Whyte


VICTORIAN rules that banned a host of “immoral” activities in Scottish parks are being swept away.

The 19th Century diktats imposed on Edinburgh residents included playing dominoes and flying kites.

Other rules that banned gambling, drinking, horse riding, swimming in ponds and rock climbing in parks are being swept away or replaced with more liberal versions.

Kite flying is one of the activities that were banned by Victorian officials (Credit: Aarondoucett)



Drinking, so long as it is in “moderation”, will be officially permitted from now on. And barbecues will be permitted in designated areas.

But the city council is introducing a handful of new – and very 21st Century – restrictions, including controls on metal detecting and flying radio-controlled aircraft.

Edinburgh council said it wanted to move with the times and be more sensible about restrictions on the use of parks.

David Jamieson, head of parks and greenspace at Edinburgh City Council, said: “Park rules are reviewed every ten years and we often find that the issues of the day may well not be the issues of the past.

“Rules are there to help the responsible management of parks and that is why some disappear over the years.”

The bans were first introduced by the city elders at Princes Street Gardens in 1877 when residents were banned from washing, drying, shaking carpets, loitering, selling goods, swearing, or hawking.

Another ban introduced at the time, and unlikely to be scrapped any time soon, was on “discharging a firearm”.

Mr Jamieson added: “This time we looked at our current rules and spoke to all of our ‘friends of’ groups and asked what was relevant to them.

Things like gambling are not a big issue in parks these days – that’s why things like gambling and flying kites have been removed.

“We would probably encourage people to fly kites actually.”