Police box owner aims to make a real killing
IT IS rumoured to stand guard over the gateway where Burke and Hare smuggled their bodies – but unfortunately for their victims it wasn't built for nearly a century after their deaths.
• Roderick Sutherland in his box. Picture: GREG MACVEAN
It was abandoned again several decades later but now the police box at the corner of Pleasance and Drummond Street could be brought back to life.
A property investor has put the police box up for sale for 5,000, marketing it as an ideal location for a coffee kiosk, arts venue or Burke and Hare tribute site.
Roderick Sutherland, who is originally from Glasgow, said: "I bought a couple of these police boxes from Edinburgh City Council a few years ago.
"I have the one at the Pleasance and another one in Taylor Gardens, in Leith. I had originally planned to turn them into coffee kiosks, or perhaps lease them out to arts groups or Fringe performers.
"There was a Fringe show held inside a police box last year. The box I'm selling is just across the road from the Pleasance Theatre, so it would be the ideal location for something like that.
"However, I've now moved back to Glasgow, so I won't be able to manage them both as closely, so I've put one of them up for sale.
"I don't have an arts background myself. I'm a businessman and I also own a few properties. However, I know a few artists who may be interested in developing their work in something like this.
"I was speaking to a local historian and he told me it's next to the doorway where Burke and Hare used to carry their bodies through to the medical school.
"The entrance has been bricked up now, but you can still see the archway."
He added: "It offers a great opportunity for Burke and Hare tour operators to host an interesting part of the tale from.
"I've been speaking to estate agents about marketing the police box, and they reckon it will go quite quickly.
"I'm planning to hold on to the one at Taylor Street, and I'll maybe lease it out for a peppercorn rent to one of the local community groups."
However, Ian Baxter, co-owner of The West Port Tours which offers a Burke and Hare murder trail, said he won't be rushing to take it off his hands.
He added: "The location is a bit off the beaten track so the tourist footfall would be minimal.
"Also, I'm dubious about the Burke and Hare connection as there is no written record of them taking their bodies through a gateway at the Pleasance.
"The route they took is quite well documented, carrying the bodies through Cowgate, up High School Yards and into Infirmary Street."
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