Arts hub plan for Wellington boot birthplace

It'S a final remnant of a once-thriving industry that supported more than 8000 jobs and was responsible for the production of the Wellington boot, the modern motor car tyre and the first traffic cone.

An artist's impression of the creative industries wing. Picture: contributed

Now the red-brick former headquarters of Edinburgh’s North British Rubber Company are set to undergo a radical transformation into the city’s latest arts quarter.

Work is due to begin within weeks on an £11 million project to create a home for printmaking and other creative industries on the banks of the Union Canal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A £1m campaign was launched today to ensure that the Castle Mill Works building at Fountainbridge will be brought into public use for the first time in its 160-year-history next year.

Donors will have their names immortalised in print within the building, which dates back to 1856 and closed down in 1973 when most of the mill buildings were knocked down.

The surviving buildings were turned into offices.

They were saved from 
demolition two years ago after Edinburgh City Council approved a takeover of the building by the Edinburgh Printmakers and funding was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland and Historic Scotland.

New images for the “international centre for the visual arts” show how the building will become home to a printing studio, workshops, galleries, education spaces, a delicatessen and wine bar, complete with outdoor terrace, and a hub for 60 creative industries workers.

Year-round exhibitions will be staged at Castle Mill Works, where graphic designers, jewellery makers, fashion and textile designers, ceramicists, website designers, architects and model makers are expected to joint printmaking artists.

Sarah Price, chief executive of Edinburgh Printmakers, said: “Castle Mill Works is set to retain its place as a hub for industry in Edinburgh. The birthplace of the Wellington boot can become home to some of the UK’s most exciting creative industries. It will provide world-class production facilities for practitioners and attract an estimated 30,000 visitors to exhibitions here.”