Today was the largest panel of the Traverse Through Time series, which featured Catherine Robbins, the moderator; Richard DeMarco, who needs no explanation; John Caulder, who was one of the biggest international literature supporters in Edinburgh when the Traverse began; Jim Haynes, who also needs no explanation; Sean Hignott; and John Martin, who did the design that now marks Traverse’s logo Sheila Caldon was also in the talk, who worked in various roles at the Traverse.
The main question, to quote one of the speakers, was about the origin of the Traverse, and the past of this wonderful city of “Edinburgh in the dark days, before the light of the Traverse.”
Jim Haynes spoke about the time when he first came to Edinburgh, in 1947, after his duty in the military. While in the military in Edinburgh, he was studying at the University of Edinburgh as well. He also recounted – often times with Richard DeMarco, fondly referred to as “Ricky,” – how he met most of the people who became part of the Traverse.
It started when Haynes bought a bookstore, which he then held theatre performances in, and then that developed into a desire to start a larger theatre performance space and become a legitimate club – so that they could banish the “Edinburgh in the dark days” and be able to do things like have a restaurant and drink on Sundays, as well as perform the theatre and performances they really wished to see or participate in.
Hearing the panel speak, but Jim Haynes in particular, was captivating because the passion and desire to really create an artistic space in Edinburgh was fully evident in their memories.