Edinburgh World Heritage, the charity responsible for the conservation and promotion of the Old and New Town World Heritage Site, is to take over the running of the Tron Kirk on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile following a vote by the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee. Short term, the space will be used to showcase Edinburgh as well as the other World Heritage Sites across Scotland. Longer term, the charity plans a complete refurbishment of the building which will include facilities for the local community as well as for teachers and school children.
The Grade ‘A’ listed building, one of the most significant church structures in the city, has faced an uncertain future since it was vacated by its last congregation in 1952. It has been put to various uses over the years, including a performance space, bar, and most recently a ‘Victorian Market’. It is officially listed on the Historic Environment Scotland ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.
The Tron dates from 1633 and was designed by Charles I’s Master Mason, John Mylne, who was influenced by Dutch architecture and design. Major alterations occurred in 1785 to accommodate the construction of South Bridge, and in 1824 after a calamitous fire. The floor structure and finishes were removed in the 1970s revealing the archaeological remains of Marlin’s Wynd below. These represent the oldest known part of the High Street, which was the earliest paved thoroughfare in Scotland.
Until the 1990s, it was the main gathering point for the city’s population at Hogmanay due to its prominent position, steeple and clock.
“This is an opportunity to tell the story of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site to residents and visitors alike”
Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: ‘this is an important moment for conservation in Edinburgh and I would like to thank the city’s leadership for the trust they have placed in us. The Tron is a marvellous example of Scottish 17th century architecture, but its future has been uncertain for many years. This is an opportunity to tell the story of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site to residents and visitors alike, and is a first step towards creating a sustainable future for a building which is currently at risk’.
(Feature image via Bea y Fredi)