Lynne Mackenzie
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12 OCTOBER 2015

The former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company, birthplace of the Wellington boot, the modern motor car tyre, and the first ever traffic cone, is to be saved from demolition and transformed into a world-class visual arts centre and creative hub thanks to over £6million National Lottery funding through The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Creative Scotland announced today. 

The HLF is investing £4,994,000 and Creative Scotland has confirmed a further £1,728,075 awarded to Edinburgh Printmakers towards the transformation of the historic former North British Rubber Factory HQ into a new centre for printmaking and creative industries. 

The HLF grant is inclusive of a first stage award of £500,000 already received by the visual arts charity to develop the project and engage the community with the vast local heritage through creative activities. The funding from Creative Scotland is in addition to an initial stage one capital funding award committed in 2012 of £60,000 to enable Edinburgh Printmakers to develop their proposal.  The funding from Creative Scotland will support artistic excellence and engage audiences in diverse and inclusive exhibitions and education.

The project proposed by Edinburgh Printmakers will save a 19th century category C listed building of significant architectural and historical value in the West of Edinburgh city centre from decay and eventual demolition.

Once part of a vast industrial complex manufacturing goods such as rubber boots, hot water bottles and the car tyre, the Castle Mill Works building is now the only remaining physical reminder of what was once a world-renowned rubber factory that, for many years, was at the forefront of innovation and integral to the expansion of the city.

Heritage minister Tracey Crouch said: “This Heritage Lottery Funding is fantastic news for Edinburgh – these funds will protect a building that is at the very heart of Edinburgh’s industrial heritage while also providing an exciting arts centre to support the city’s booming cultural scene.  Drawing in hundreds of visitors from near and far, regeneration projects like this one do so much to support the local economy and give the community a real sense of pride. I look forward to seeing this centre go from strength to strength and become an integral part of Edinburgh’s cultural scene.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs said: “Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland to preserve the building, and Creative Scotland’s investment in setting up the new arts centre, Castle Mill Works will be an exciting addition to Scotland and Edinburgh’s cultural scene.

“The money raised through lottery contributions will be used to get this important project off the ground. Edinburgh Printmakers will transform this historic building and in its new form it will deliver a new home for Scottish printmakers and help shape the future of our country, as well as preserve its past.”

In August, Historic Scotland (Now Historic Environment Scotland) announced that they would be awarding £500k of grant funding to the project in order to restore this important part of Edinburgh’s built heritage

Commenting from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dame Seona Reid, Deputy Chair of HLF and Chair of Committee for Scotland, said:  “We are delighted, that thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are able to unlock the potential of this much-loved building. Not only will it provide a thriving cultural centre benefitting many hundreds of national and international artists but it will breathe life back into Foutainbridge. 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.” 

Iain Munro, Deputy Chief Executive, Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland is delighted to be supporting the creation of a world class centre for printmaking for Edinburgh Printmakers, an organisation of considerable experience and repute. Edinburgh Printmakers plays an important role in the infrastructure for contemporary art in Scotland.

“This new facility will enable the organisation to build on this reputation by creating a state of the art, fit for purpose building which will be a more visible, accessible, facility appropriate to their needs and aspirations for the 21st century.

“The relocation of the Printmakers to Fountainbridge will unlock many opportunities for the organisation to engage with new and different communities and to partner with a range of schools and community groups.”

The ambition to save Castle Mill Works stemmed from Edinburgh Printmakers’ search for the ideal home in which to build a contemporary arts centre specialising in Printmaking, and Creative Industries, offering a year-round public programme of exhibitions, events and learning.

Opening to the public in 2018, Edinburgh Printmakers’ new home will be an international centre for printmaking with a state-of-the-art open access workshop, galleries, education spaces, a deli/wine bar with terrace, art retail area and production spaces for a wide range of creative industries. The total cost for the project will be £10 million.

Chair of Edinburgh Printmakers, Alastair Snow, said: “We are delighted to have support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland for this project. These awards will allow us to bring Castle Mill Works back from the very dilapidated state it has fallen into and transform it into a vibrant cultural resource.

“Castle Mill Works was once a powerhouse of industry and invention, our plan will bring production back to Fountainbridge and place creativity at the heart of the community. This neglected area will become a vibrant place to work or visit, foster a sense of community, and offer opportunities for everyone to engage with creativity.

“These awards provide a substantial amount of the funds required to realise the project and are a real vote of confidence for Edinburgh Printmakers as a leading arts organisation. But, just over £2M still needs to be raised. As well as applying to trusts and foundations, we are asking the public to join us on this new and exciting journey and help us reach a target of £10m.”

Sarah Price, CEO of Edinburgh Printmakers added: “The vision for Edinburgh Printmakers as a cultural provider has evolved hugely as a result of this project and in response to the heritage of the building. We can’t wait to get going on delivering artistic exhibitions and activities that will benefit local people and bring visitors to the area. Art has the power to transform lives and places and that is our aim, we have spent many years planning and now with these decisions we can start to make those dreams a reality.”

In the lead up to the opening of the arts centre, Edinburgh Printmakers will showcase a series of temporary artwork commissions at Castle Mill Works that respond to the unique heritage of the grand industrial building and its rich cultural environs. 

The heritage of the building will also be a permanent feature within the complete arts centre as the legacy of the building is explored through newly commissioned artwork installations, each uncovering the past and creating a conversation between new and old that can continue into the future. 

The project has already attracted widespread support and endorsement with local community groups keen to save the building for future use as a cultural venue. 

The announcement of this award coincided with the launch of Edinburgh Printmakers public appeal for donations. The public can help Edinburgh Printmakers reach the £10m target by texting CMWS001 to 70970 to give £5, or by visiting to donate any amount.


Notes to Editors:

Edinburgh Printmakers is a leading visual arts organisation and registered charity established in 1967 as a specialist centre for fine art printmaking offering open access printmaking facilities, running year-round exhibitions and events and by offering learning opportunities for all.

Proposals for a new Creative Hub housed in the Category C listed Castle Mill Works building in Fountainbridge have been developed for Edinburgh Printmakers by a design team led by PagePark Architects. The redevelopment proposals have recently been submitted for Planning and Listed Building Consent with an anticipated site start in autumn 2016.

The project has been awarded funding by Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, 
Historic Scotland, the Architectural Heritage Fund, Garfield Weston, Robertson 
Trust, PF Charitable Trust, Turtleton Charitable Trust, Dunard Fund, Binks Trust and other trusts and foundations as well as already attracting valuable individual and corporate donations. 

Edinburgh Printmakers will continue to present a public programme of exhibitions, events and activities at its Union Street premises until summer 2018.

Edinburgh Printmakers.
23 Union St, Edinburgh EH1 3LR
0131 557 2479  Open: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm   @EdinburghPrints     #EPworks

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF):
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. @heritagelottery

Creative Scotland: 
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  It enables people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  It distributes funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. Capital funding is allocated in two stages.  Firstly, initial development funding is awarded to enable projects to develop proposals. Project plans are then assessed by Creative Scotland and if they meet the final development criteria, the in-principle commitment outlined at stage one will be awarded.  However it should be noted that this does not necessarily guarantee success at the final stage. Organisations can apply for up to between £1,000 – £100,000 and up to £150,000 (with prior written approval) funding for small scale capital costs through the Open Project Funding Programme, find our more here:

For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and