Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


A new lease of life for the Tron Kirk

The City of Edinburgh Council have approved a plan to grant Edinburgh World Heritage a lease on the Tron Kirk.

Jun 6, 2013

The EWH plan is to turn the kirk into a visitor centre, telling the stories of Scotland's World Heritage Sites, and bringing the historic building back into effective use for the first time in 60 years.

Willy Roe, Chair of Edinburgh World Heritage said: "As a category A listed building at risk at the heart of the World Heritage Site, the Tron Kirk is a natural priority for us, and finding it a sustainable use is key to its future. The restoration of the building offers Edinburgh a unique opportunity to create an accessible and sustainable centre, from which to tell the fascinating stories of the Old and New Towns, and provide learning about our globally recognised World Heritage Sites.

I would like to thank council officers for their help and support, and look forward to working with them and other partners in the development of the project. This initiative will draw on the considerable expertise of Edinburgh World Heritage in conserving historic buildings, interpreting the city's heritage and fundraising for restoration projects. Needless to say this will require a very large fundraising effort, but we are confident that people will see the value of the scheme. If granted the lease we intend to develop funding applications to bring the scheme to reality. The Tron Kirk is one of Edinburgh's architectural treasures, and our plan is to see it brought back to life for the good of the city”

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, the city’s Finance and Budget Convener, said: “The proposals to lease the Tron Kirk to Edinburgh World Heritage will bring a new lease of life to the historic building and this part of the city. The experience and expertise of the Trust will be vital in securing a long term future for the building and also represents the best financial outcome for the taxpayers of Edinburgh.

“The current consultation being undertaken on the future of the Royal Mile identifies the Tron Kirk as a key issue for local residents and businesses and we’ll be using their feedback to inform our ongoing discussions with Edinburgh World Heritage.”

Tron Kirk timeline

left: The Tron Kirk in the mid-1700s, before the building of South Bridge.

1637 - John Mylne appointed architect to Tron, 4th March, laying of foundation stone
1648 - Walls substantially completed, roof completed in 1663.
1678 - Clock from the Butter Tron (destroyed by Cromwell 1652) installed in the steeple
1785 - Building of South Bridge and Hunter Square; alterations to exterior and interior by architect John Baxter
1824 - Fire destroys steeple
1830-40 - General Assembly of the Church of Scotland held at the Tron
1884 - Commemorative stained glass windows installed in west and east wall, by James Ballantine & Son
1952 - Congregation ceases to use Tron; building closed for worship
1953-60 - Negotiations involving Secretary of State for Scotland and Edinburgh Corporation over future of Tron
1972 - Secretary of State conveys Tron Kirk to Edinburgh Corporation, with condition of some public access to the building
1974 - Major repairs to masonry, steeple, roof and archaeological investigation of area below floor level
1993-2006 - Tron leased as Old Town Information Centre, open in the summer with temporary walkway for viewing archaeological remains

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