Edinburgh's Royal High School to be transformed into arts hotel

Developer also behind Odeon cinema project

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Edinburgh's Royal High School to be transformed into arts hotel by Duddingston House Properties

As one of Edinburgh’s A-listed buildings gets set for a transformation, what does the future hold for another of the capital’s forgotten gems?

Following months of speculation it has been revealed that the former Royal High School on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill will be transformed into an arts hotel. The £35m redevelopment, awarded by the city council to Duddingston House Properties, will see the space brought back into public use for the first time in forty years, as part of plans to house the space with a hotel, complete with restaurant, cafe and gallery.

The plans have been met with mixed response. While council heads are calling the move a success, some feel the idea simply doesn’t live up to the iconic building’s potential. Many were backing a campaign to transform the area into a national photography centre, while others are concerned that Duddingston House Properties will have their plans beset by delays, as they have their other high profile project, the former Odeon cinema in the city’s southside. Duddingston bought the cinema six years ago, but the B-listed building has been boarded up since 2003. The last year has seen a series of petitions to see the place re-opened as a public space.

One Odeon supporter spoke to the List of her disappointment over the decision to give this latest project to the same team: ‘I’m sorely disappointed to hear that Edinburgh’s former Royal High school has been leased to DHP. They are hoping to demolish the Odeon’s beautiful and unique auditorium in order to build a ‘boutique’ hotel. It’s nauseating that the Council is encouraging them to convert the Royal High, a uniquely iconic A-listed building, into yet another ‘art’ hotel, rather than supporting plans for the Hill Adamson Photography Centre, which would have been a national cultural centre of international significance.’ The debate continues.


1. cockney geezer5 Apr 2010, 6:53pm Report

How was the cooncil persuaded to hand over this unique landmark to a bunch of cowboy speculators masquerading as "enlightened developers" ??
"boutique art hotel" my arse !! Anyone who has seen how they've "decorated" the interior of Duddingston Hoose knows it's full of the hi-gloss, trashy "interior design" tackiness that'd make a footballer's wife blush, your hairdresser faint, and a drag queen gag. No Sir. It isn't "quality art" wots on those walls - and it's definitely not erotic. It looks like the w*nk fantasy of a pre-pubescant imbecile with pots of cash. no style. and no taste.

Who is safeguarding the World Heritage Site ? And do they understand what is at stake ?
Apparently the elected cooncillors do not. Nor does the Planning Authority. And Scottish Starchitects, are happy enough to dance to the developers'/financiers' tune ~ maximising returns for their clients whilst bull-dozing the historic city fabric, with their noses shoved in the trough: Gareth Hoskins at the former Royal High School; Malcolm Fraser at Canongate; and Richard Murphy at Haymarket.

The ongoing market-driven and philistine exploitation of sites by such schemes within (and surrounding the WHS), leads only to its progressive dilution and degradation ~ Edinburgh becoming less like itself, and more like everywhere else.

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