Council joins forces with SHBT to save Custom House in Leith

The City of Edinburgh Council has today cemented its off-market offer to save the historic Customs House building in Leith by partnering with the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT).

The building, which will be put up for sale by the National Museums Scotland, has been identified by the Campaign for a Leith Museum as an ideal venue for housing cultural exhibitions relating to the maritime heritage of the Leith area.

At a full Council meeting yesterday (Thursday 26 June), the Capital Coalition confirmed an in-principle decision to acquire Custom House through the Common Good Fund, following necessary legal and financial checks.

The Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) has today agreed to join the Council in project-planning the delivery of a Leith Museum within the building.

Culture and Sport Convener Councillor Richard Lewis, who has backed the campaign for a Leith Museum, said: “Without any pledges on the table to save Custom House on the Shore, the campaign for a Museum in Leith has reached a crisis point. Leith has such a rich heritage and we could not sit and watch this opportunity pass by.

“The Council has voiced an intention to save the venue, and we have placed a bid which we hope will purchase the building before it is put up for general sale by National Museums Scotland.”

John Campbell, Chairman of the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, said: “We are delighted with the contribution of the Council to save Customs House for the benefit of the people of Leith and beyond. SHBT, as an organisation which has restored many buildings throughout Scotland look forward to working with the Council, the community and other key stakeholders in the development of this exciting project. 

“Leith Customs House is the oldest in Scotland, built by Robert Reid in 1812, is the most historically significant building on the Leith waterfront and set the standard for Customs Houses throughout Scotland.”

The Edinburgh Common Good Fund is a fund to benefit the people of Edinburgh through projects and initiatives that better Edinburgh areas and boost public access.

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