Edinburgh Doors Open Day takes place this year over the weekend of the Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd.
121 buildings are throwing open their doors to the public to provide free access to the public all over the city – and a good smattering of them are in and around Leith.
Here’s our choice of some of the local buildings that might be worth going to see – we’ve focussed in particular on one’s that you might not normally get access to the rest of the year.
The descriptions below are all lifted from the Doors Open Day programme, which you can find in full here on the Cockburn Association website.
Leith Theatre is located at the junction of Ferry Road and North Junction Street. Built as part of a civic complex comprising the library and the Thomas Morton Hall to commemorate the incorporation of the Burgh of Leith into the City of Edinburgh, the large theatre was opened in 1932 but has been unused since the late 1980s.
The Leith Theatre Trust is working with the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and local partners to bring the theatre back to life as a vibrant cultural centre for performance, the visual arts and community events.
Open on Sunday 23rd only: 12pm-4pm.
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s new Sculpture Centre opened in June of this year, the first building of its kind in the UK having been purpose-built to accommodate the needs of sculptors. Designed by Sutherland Hussey Architects, the brief outlined the need for a functional building with studios and workshop areas to accommodate a broad range of sculpture production, which also had to be flexible enough to accommodate all elements of our programme and offer a welcoming environment for visitors and users.
It was a difficult brief which the architects have fulfilled, producing an outstanding piece of contemporary design. Staff will lead tours of the building throughout the day and provide information about ESW’s work and programme as well as discussing the development of the project to date and future plans.
Sutherland Hussey will give a talk in the afternoon about the project and some of their international projects. Advance booking essential for tours and talk via [email protected] or 0131 551 4490.
Open on Saturday only: 10.00-16.30
Raimes Clark Head Office
The Georgian villa of James Smith, the merchant who laid out Smith’s Place in 1814, has belonged to Raines Clark & Co Ltd since 1835.
It is home to the Head Office of Lindsay & Gilmour Pharmacies and remains a very fine surviving example of a Leith merchant’s house. It retains many of its original features such as the oval central staircase, Adam fireplaces and the oldest surviving walled garden in Leith.
You can found out more about the history of the building and its relationship with the Lindsay and Gilmour Pharmacies in this illustrated history put together by the firm.
Address: 19, Smith’s Place
Open on Sunday only: 10.30am-16.30pm
Lamb’s House was built in 1610 by Andro Lamb, a Hanseatic merchant, and consisted of booths on the ground floor and residential accommodation and storage on the upper floors.
It was saved from demolition and partly restored by the 4th Marquis of Bute, K.T. in 1938-40. Lord David Stuart gave the house to the National Trust for Scotland in 1958.
External restoration was completed, the interiors were adapted and a single storey hall was built by the Edinburgh and Leith Old People’s Welfare Council. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in October 1962.
Groves-Raines Architects Ltd acquired the building in 2010 from the NTS. On the site of the hall an extension and stand alone Pavilion have been built. A Renaissance garden is under construction within the enclosure to the south of the house. This complex now houses the architectural practice, the Vice Consulate of Iceland as well as residential accommodation on the upper floors of the house.
Address: 11, Water’s Close
Open Sunday: 13:00-17:00
Lothian Buses Central Depot
Connstructed in just a few weeks in 1922 as Edinburgh’s Industrial Exhibition Hall, the building played host to many large national shows in the 1920s, including the Scottish Motor Show and Edinburgh’s Christmas Fun Fair.
The building became a bus garage in 1926 and was extended in 1933 and 1963 to accommodate the ever expanding fleet of buses.
There will be buses from the 1950s to the present day on display. Find out how the buses have developed over the years, both on the outside but also in their hidden interiors!
Please look out for information on Lothian Buses website regarding advance booking for some aspects of the open day – Guided Tours by open-top bus, trips through the bus wash, a chance to sit behind the steering wheel of one of their buses, plus much more.
Open Saturday only: 11.45-16.00pm
Address: Annandale Street