Lease agreement signals start of work on Royal High School restoration
Works leading to the restoration of a jewel in the crown of Scotland’s architectural heritage will commence immediately with the formal commencement of a lease agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and the Royal High School Preservation Trust (RHSPT).
The agreement enables the RHSPT to take possession of the site of the former Royal High School with immediate effect and paves the way for the iconic Thomas Hamilton building on Calton Hill to be repurposed as a world-class centre for music education and public performance for the benefit of the whole of Scotland.
Under criteria set by the City of Edinburgh Council, any proposals for the future of the building had to ensure a sustainable long-term future for the old Royal High School and be of the highest architectural quality.
Councillors agreed in October 2021 that the RSHPT’s plan to create a new National Centre for Music on the site amply fulfilled those criteria, while offering a shared vision for the creation of a new platform for musical collaborations, both within the building, online and out in the wider community.
William Gray Muir, chairman of the Royal High School Preservation Trust, said: “This is a significant milestone for the former Royal High School and the delivery of our shared vision for a new world-class centre for music education and public performance.
“Having planned for so long to conserve and protect the building for the city and the nation it is hugely exciting for the Trust to take possession of it at last and move ahead with restoration plans later this year. I must give great credit to our partners at the City of Edinburgh Council for the support and assistance over recent months that has led to this point.
“As we prepare to move ahead into the redevelopment phase in the months ahead, we look forward to collaborating closely with the local community as we keep them up to date on progress.”
Council leader Cammy Day said: “It’s great news that work is about to start on this iconic building, set in the heart of our World Heritage Site. The new centre for music education and public performance will be a standard bearer for the capital and Scotland more widely. I look forward to seeing the upcoming works to preserve and invest in this historic city centre building.
“I am sure that the Royal High School Preservation Trust will do an excellent job in transforming the site and that the centre will enjoy great success in the years to come.”