Council secures bid for Custom House

The Council's bid to purchase the Custom House building in Leith has been accepted.

Customs house commercial street leith from the west
Customs house commercial street leith from the west

The City of Edinburgh Council placed a bid last month to purchase the Custom House building in Leith, which is currently owned and used by National Museums Scotland. Today (16 July) the bid was accepted.

This Council will now look at ways of how it might work with partners to develop the building into a hub for the Leith community, which would include the housing of a museum to tell the story of Leith's history.

The Culture and Sport Convener, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “I am delighted that the Council has been able to step forward to acquire the building. This is excellent news for the Leith community who have campaigned for more than six years to save the historic Custom House building.

“The building and the surrounding area share a rich history, with Custom House once acting as the main site of imports in Leith. Our offer should secure the future of the building for public use, as a hub for the local community.

“Now that the Council’s bid has been accepted by National Museums Scotland, we are determined to take the project forward and identify how and when we can help open the doors to a heritage centre for Leith.

“We are currently undertaking due diligence procedures and a report will be put to the full Council on how to take plans forward.”

What is Custom House in Leith?

· Built between 1810-1812, Leith Custom House is a large Georgian building of neo-classical design, by the architect Robert Reid.

· The building comprises two tall storeys and a formidable portico entrance. The pediment above the entrance displays the royal coat of arms of George III and is supported by two Greek Doric columns.

· The Custom House was the venue for the collection of duty payable on goods imported through Leith.

· It was built on The Sandport area of North Leith, a site close to the quayside which had formerly been used for boat-building.

· The building is currently used by National Museums Scotland for storage and as such, is closed to the public.

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