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Edinburgh birthplace of Welly boot given reprieve

In 1951 Edinburgh's largest factory was the North British Rubber Company's works at Castle Mills. Picture: TSPL

In 1951 Edinburgh's largest factory was the North British Rubber Company's works at Castle Mills. Picture: TSPL

THE birthplace of the Wellington boot, the modern motor car tyre and the first-ever traffic cone has taken a step closer to being saved after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced major funding for the Edinburgh site.

Castle Mills in Fountainbridge, the last standing reminder of the city’s celebrated rubber mill, has been awarded almost £5 million to transform it into a creative arts and print-making centre.

Now on the Buildings at Risk register, it was famous for pioneering the use of India rubber to make Wellington boots, supplying 1.2 million pairs to soldiers in the First World War.

At its peak, the North British Rubber Company employed 8,000 people and Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Castle Mills was once at the heart of a thriving community, but now stands empty and neglected. We are delighted to help unlock its potential.”

 

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