A new future for Edinburgh's former Royal High School


08 October 2021
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The former Royal High School building
The Royal High School Preservation Trust is to be leased the City of Edinburgh Council’s former Royal High School building, set in the heart of the city’s World Heritage Site on Regent Road.

Councillors on the Finance and Resources Committee approved the Royal High School Preservation Trust’s (RHSPT) proposal for a long lease of the property at their meeting this week.

The former Royal High School building stands on Calton Hill and was built between 1826 and 1829 by Thomas Hamilton.  Until 1968 it was the premises of Edinburgh Royal High School. Since then, it has served a number of purposes, including being a base for various Edinburgh City Council departments. 

An iconic building

Councillor Rob Munn, Finance and Resources Convener, said: 'It’s great news that this iconic building, set in the heart of our World Heritage Site, will now be restored and put to good use again, making it accessible for many generations to come.

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'I’m delighted committee approved this proposal today as I’m confident it meets our criteria as the RHSPT will ensure a sustainable long term future for the former school while at the same time committing to the high architecture standards required for future restoration of the building to make sure it is in-keeping with our World Heritage Site.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, Finance and Resources Vice-Convener, said: 'This is great news for people in Edinburgh as when we finalise the lease, we’ll explore partnership opportunities with the RHSPT so we can share knowledge and open up opportunities for our pupils as well as other musicians, choirs and orchestras from throughout the city to make good use of this much loved building and the world class facilities the trust is planning to provide.'

Report and photo courtesy of Edinburgh City Council. Archive image from 'The History of the High School of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Maclachlan and Stewart', 1849, Frontispiece. Wikimedia Commons.