Landmark pub set to house exhibits

A LANDMARK art deco pub is set to finally reopen its doors after being left to fall into ruin for more than a decade.

Craigmillar's B-listed White House pub is to be restored to its former glory as the latest stage of the 200 million regeneration of the neighbourhood. It will first be used as a temporary exhibition space before, it is hoped, eventually reopening as a traditional pub or cafe bar.

Developer Parc has now taken over the building after starting compulsory purchase moves against the previous owners.

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A spokesman for Parc said: "The deterioration of the White House has become a symbol of the decline of Craigmillar, so it is fitting that it will now become a symbol of its regeneration.

"The architect that designed the White House in the 1930s also designed the shopfronts of the surrounding buildings, so the plan is to restore the art deco features of the whole area with the White House as its centre."

The renovation of the building, on Niddrie Mains Road, will include replacing the roof, outside rendering, windows and doors, and a complete internal revamp.

The restoration will be part funded by a 53,250 heritage grant from Historic Scotland.

Once renovated, the building will be used to house an exhibition recounting the history of the White House and the wider Craigmillar area.

Parc has submitted plans for the renovation to the city council, but no firm timescale has yet been set for the pub reopening.

The first stage of the redevelopment will involve drying the pub out.

It has been standing derelict for over a decade and has been a regular target for vandals and fireraisers.

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The Parc spokesman added: "We want to get the local community involved in the exhibition, to show what the White House used to be like and what it will be again.

"Ultimately, we want to return it to use as the focal point of the community. There are no firm plans over whether the building will be used as a pub, or a cafe bar, but we hope to be able to engage with the local community in the coming months to find out what they would like to see."

Craigmillar Community Arts hopes it may be able to take advantage of the exhibition space before the building is reopened commercially.

Local artist and CCA volunteer Johnni Stanton said: "We hope the exhibition space will house our exhibits celebrating the heritage of Craigmillar.

"The history of the community goes back 1,000 years, which is something they don't teach you about in school.

"Through our regular exhibition, Craigmillar . . . Then, we have collected over 32,000 photos of the local area.

"Ultimately, we would like to see this building remain as a permanent exhibition space dedicated to the heritage of Craigmillar.

"However, if this is not possible I would much prefer the idea of a continental cafe bar. There are far too many pubs in Craigmillar."


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THE White House was built in 1936 and was designed by William Innes Thomson.

It was one of Edinburgh's original roadhouses.

Mike Greenlaw, arts co-ordinator at Craigmillar Community Arts, explains: "It was the fashion in those days, with the advent of the motor car, to design premises for people to drive out to.

"Other roadhouses include the Maybury, which shares many design features, and another one out in Hillend.

"However, over the years it developed into a popular local pub for Craigmillar, until its closure around ten years ago."

Its closure came at the end of years of decline, a reputation for trouble and a series of fires. The derelict building was hit by serious blaze in 2005.