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The Cockburn Association was officially formed on 15 June 1875 at a public meeting addressed by Lord Moncrief of Tullibole. Lord Moncrief stressed that the new association would be a means of rapid and effective communication of public opinion on the work of the Town Council and dedicated it to the improvement of Edinburgh and the neighbourhood.

The first major campaign by the Association was to resist the removal of trees at Bruntsfield Links and the Cockburn has campaigned for the retention and improvement of Edinburgh's open and green spaces ever since.

Many of the Association's campaigns have required considerable patience and determination. In 1877 the Association campaigned to bring land along the Water of Leith into public use and some 98 years later we saw success with the opening of the Water of Leith Walkway. The Association was also instrumental in opposing some of the damaging plans for inner city highways and Edinburgh, as a result, has been left unsullied by inner city motorways. The Association has long been a pioneering supporter of sustainable modes of transport including public transport systems.

The Association was instrumental in opposing some of the damaging plans for inner city highways

In 1964, with the introduction of the Civic Amenities (Scotland) Act, the Cockburn Association adopted the sub title of The Edinburgh Civic Trust as recognition of the growing support for good planning and conservation across all of Scotland.

More information about the history of the Cockburn Association and some of its campaigns can be found in the Historic Campaigns section of this website.