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Summerhall

Located on Summerhall Place, at the eastern end of the Meadows in Edinburgh, Summerhall opened as a hub for theatre and the arts in 2012, occupying premises purpose-built for the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Possibly the most significant construction by local architect David McArthy (1854 - 1926), work began in 1913 but paused during the First World War and the building was not fully completed until 1925. The authors of the Buildings of Scotland clearly did not like what they saw, describing it as "Fag-end Wrenaissance ... the front a dreary frame of columns and pediments. Inside, the pompous stairhall is an epitome of bourgeois smugness." This original building was extended 1937-40 by Lorimer & Matthew, with an incongruous tower-block added by Reiach & Hall in 1966-73 that now serves as the Tech Cube - space for technology start-up companies. Now all B-listed, the complex also includes the Romanesque-style former Hope Park and Buccleuch Congregational Church, which was built in 1876. The Veterinary College moved here from premises on Clyde Street in 1916.

Bought in 2011 for £4 million by banking consultant and economist Robert McDowell and now described as Europe's biggest private multi-arts complex, it is the location for exhibitions and home to music, theatre, film events, Summerhall also provides a venue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The former Anatomy Lecture Theatre is preserved, with its wooden, curved, tiered seating and vaulted sky light. This was the last surviving example of this type of lecture theatre in a British veterinary college. The double-height former dissection room now provides studio and workshop space. The building houses the archive and collection of arts empresario Richard Demarco and the National Script Library of Scottish Community Drama, with origins stretching back to 1936 and now including more than 20,000 scripts. There is also a shop and café-bar.


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