Historic Rubber Factory to Become $10 Million Arts Center for Edinburgh

The building is the birthplace of the Wellington Boot.

Edinburgh will soon be getting a $10 million (£6.6 million) arts center, complete with retail, exhibition, studio space, and cutting-edge printmaking facilities.

The transformation of the North British Rubber Factory, or “Castle Mill Works,” has been facilitated through funding granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland, and is slated to be completed in 2018.

“The community is justly proud of its industrial heritage so it is fitting that Castle Mill Works, which once supported so many families, will be the catalyst in its regeneration,” Dame Seona Reid, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s committee for Scotland, told The Scotsman.

The project is not only a boost for the art community in Edinburgh, but also saves the historic factory building. Castle Mill Works first came into use as a rubber factory, producing rubber boots for soldiers during World War I. The company relocated in 1973, and the historic factory became a derelict landmark, and was listed in Scotland’s “building at risk register” in 2010.

The factory is the birthplace of the "welly boot" <br> Photo: via The Scotsman

The factory is the birthplace of the “welly boot”
Photo:  TSPL via The Scotsman

In addition, the Scottish arts organization Edinburgh Printmakers will gain a new home as part of the project.

“We can’t wait to get going on delivering artistic exhibitions and activities that will benefit local people and bring visitors to the area,” said Edinburgh Printmakers chief executive, Sarah Price. “Art has the power to transform lives and places, and that is our aim.”

“This new facility will enable the organization to build on this reputation by creating a state-of-the art building which will be a more visible, accessible facility appropriate to their needs and aspirations for the 21st century,” added Iain Munro, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland, who have already invested $ 768,176 (£500,000) in the project.

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