Launch Presentation

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One of the key aims of the Dalkeith THI and CARS is to engage with the local community and to promote an awareness and understanding of Dalkeith’s unique heritage ...

Melville Housing Association have now purchased the Dalkeith Corn Exchange. The Corn Exchange , one of Dalkeith's most important historic buildings is a listed Grade A building and was on Historic Scotland's Listed Building's at Risk Register.It was vacant for a number of years  and was starting to deterioriate with water ingress and dry rot breaking out in some of the roof and first floor gallery structural timbers.

The Corn Exchange has a fascinating history , it was one of Scotland's largest Corn Ecxhange's , built with public subscription and completed in 1854.Dalkeith was a very busy market town at the time and the wide High Street was a hive of activity with produce from the surrounding fertile countryside being sold in the centre of the town.The Corn Exchange successfully operated into the 20th century until the growth of the railways and the decline in the role of the market towns saw the need for local Corn Exchanges disappear.

The building developed other uses , it served the community as a focal point for social activity from when it opened until it was occupied by Ferranti in the early 1960's.It has been used for gatherings of all kinds, the activities have included;balls, banquets,dances,pubilc and private meetings,lectures,cinema,concerts,theatre and exhibition.

The Dalkeith Corn Exchange in the late 1800's.                        Sketch of the front entrance

Corn Exchange in the late 1800'sCorn Exchange front entrance         

Melville Housing Association  have secured grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a repair grant from Historic Scotland to be able to restore and convert the building into their new HQ.Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission has been obtained to convert the building into an office in the main hall with a new museum for Dalkeith History Society together with community facilities.

The design has been carefully considered by Micheal Laird architects for the overall scheme and Hamilton Design for the fitting out of the new museum.The main hall space will be retained with the impressive timber double hammer beam roof , the new museum will be provided at the far end of the hall on the upper level of a new mezzane with office space below.

Interior of the Corn Exchange                                                            Proposed new musuem interior

sketch of interior of corn exchangeinterior of musuem


Not only will there be a careful and imaginative repair and restoration programme there will also be the inclusion of new technogy to provide a sustainable energy supply in the form of a ground source heat pump in the car park area and solar panels on the roof.

The work will start with the demolition of the recent additions to the building in March and then the main scheme will start in the summer, aiming for completion in spring next year .

Princes Trust art work temporarily fixed to the boarded up windows on the front elevation :

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Proposed floor plan of the scheme:The blue area is the open plan office, the cream is shared public/private space and the white area is the musuem above with office below .

Proposed floor plans

There is an activity plan for the Corn Exchange please click here to download ,this gives an idea of how the public will be encouraged to engage with the scheme as it progresses.



The Dalkeith THI/CARS has awarded the last building grant to No 2 High Street, the Blossom Garden Restaurant. This is a priority building in the grant scheme. Dalkeith Business Renewal, one of the grant partners agreed to allocate an additional sum to the grant fund to enable this property to be repaired and restored.

The Blossom Garden Restaurant is in a very poor condition and has in the past been served with a Dangerous Structure Notice due to loose render falling off the building on to the footpath below. The cement render is in a very poor state and the roof needs urgent attention.

The building is situated in a very prominent location within the Dalkeith Conservation Area at the junction of the High Street with Buccleuch Street and Eskbank Road and currently gives a poor impression of the town as you enter the High Street at this point. The work that has been completed to repair and restore the property opposite 1-3 High Street has had the effect of making the Blossom Garden Restaurant even worse. The town is currently being regenerated in this area with the development of the Morrison's supermarket so it is important that the condition of the Blossom Garden Restaurant is addressed.

The grant has been awarded for the repair of the roof, chimney, rainwater goods, all the doors and windows will be repaired and refurbished and the cement render taken off and the stonework beneath repaired to receive a new lime harl and lime colour wash. The exposed stone work on the Buccleuch Street elevation will be repaired and repointed in a lime mortar.

The work will start on the 13th January for a 14 week contract period and will significantly upgrade the building and will enhance and improve this area of the town, complimenting the work that has been done on 1-3 High Street opposite and the public realm work (i.e. the widening and repairing of the footpaths here in yorkstone) that was completed a year ago.

Photographs of the building illustrating it's current condition and a couple of old photos .

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Historic Scotland's annual seminar for CARS officers across Scotland was hosted in Dalkeith on the 4th December 2013. This is the first time the annual seminar has been held outside Historic Scotland's main HQ in Edinburgh.

Dalkeith was choosen as a venue for the CARS officers to see what had been achieved in the town over the last 4 years. Presentations were given about the scheme and partners joined the seminar to share their experiences of the work that had been done .

Gerry Goldwyre(BBC Master Chef) from Dalkeith's water tower , historic landmark building in the town provided home made soup and bread at lunch time for the delegates.

Other partners who attended to share their experiences were:Kenneth Ferguson QS for the Tolbooth, Nigel Hallworth and Andrew Watt from St Mary's Church Dalkeith owner of the Tolbooth , Lyall Suntherland and Jane Burridge from SHS Burridge architects for 1-3 High Street , Gary Byrce  from G.Grigg and Sons contractors for some of the grant schemes in the High Street , Alan Mason chair of Dalkeith History Society , David Murphy from Dalkeith Community Council , John McLeish from Melville Housing Association , Mike Armstrong volunteer , and Derek Welsh from Midlothian Council Regenerationm Team .

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After lunch there was a walkeabout in the town centre to look at some of the completed grant schemes as well as the public realm work.

Dalkeith Walkabout

Feedback from the delegates was very positive and as a result Historic Scotland are to hold next years annual seminar in Paisley, where there has also  been a CARS scheme successfully delivered.


DAME is staging their autumn exhibition of local arts and crafts in Dalkeith Arts Centre from the 16th November to the 30th November, click here to view the programme, and visit their website,

autumn programme title page



As part of the exhibition there will be a number of workshops open for the public to attend, two of which are being supported by the Dalkeith THI : 

Architecture and Drawing :Cornices,Parapets and Balustrades:Thurs 21st Nov ,7-9.00pm

A workshop about Georgian and Victorian architecture in Dalkeith with the opportunity to look at the old buildings in Dalkeith town centre and to do some drawing.  Architect Daphne Kessissoglou will be talking about her recent project looking at architectural details with the add of a model, poster and photographs.


balustrade model photo     poster balustrade


Illustrating the written word:Wed 27th Nov .1-3.00pm

This workshop will be lead by Greame Stewart and the Dalkeith Princes Trust Team Programme. The workshop will encourage participants to create an illustration of their favourite book or poem.

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The Princes Trust Team Programme provides young people with valuable skills and qualifications to help them enter education, training or employment.

The Dalkeith team is delivered in partnership with Edinburgh College and Police Scotland. It is also supported by the European Social Fund.

The Dalkeith THI Project Manager has been helping the Princes Trust team leader, Greame Stewart  working with young people in the area to develop a project around the history and heritage of Dalkeith.

The result is a project to provide decorative panels for the front windows of the Corn Exchange, as a temporary measure before repair and restoration work starts on the building probably in the spring.  The panels were exhibited at Dalkeith Arts Centre on 7th November 2013 to a large audience and reived a great deal of praise.  It was obvious that the young people involved were extremely proud of their work, the project has enabled them to express themselves in visual form. They have learnt alot about the history and heritage of the area in the process. Well done to all those involved !!.  Click here to view invite leaflet.

Some photographs from the exhibition:

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An opening event was held at Dalkeith Arts Centre on 6th November 2013 to celebrate the completion of 1-3 High Street, the last remaining priority project of the scheme.

25 people attended to view the exhibition, partake of the refreshments and listen to a few brief presentations.

Donald Marshall the Dalkeith THI/CARS Project Team Chairman opened the event and welcomed those attending.  Rod Lugg the project manager gave a brief prersentation about the scheme followed by contributions from members of the design team and partnerships involved.  Lyall Sutherland from SHS Burridge Architects for the project talked about the need for good design team workwork, Gary Bryce from G.Grigg and Sons representing the contractor reinforced this and stressed the important of using the correct methods and techniques when repairing and restoring historic buildings.  Stuart Warren the owner from 20/20 Properties said that he was very pleased with the outcome and the way the work was progressed on site.

John McLeish from Melville Housing Association, a member of the Dalkeith Heritage Trail Group gave a brief update on the proposals for the Corn Exchange.

A leaflet on the repair and restoration work was available at the event, this describes the nature of the work undertaken, please click here to down load the leaflet.

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No 1-3 High Street before and after photographs and the opening event.

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Tom Addyman the archaeologist for the repair and restoration of the Tolbooth gave a presentation of his findings to an audience at Dalkeith County Hotel on Thursday, 13th June 2013.

Tom gave a fascinating talk about his survey and investigations of the Tolbooth. Taking hard cement render off the front and rear of the building exposed evidence of the buildings' interesting and complicated history. Tom explained how he approached the survey using existing evidence in the form of old maps, reports, articles and photographs and how he then carefully surveyed and recorded the building looking at every detail to try and piece together the buildings evolution over time.

He presented his final report which was well received. The audience comprised partners to the project , Dalkeith History Society, Dalkeith Country Park, students who had been involved in the recording work and Dalkeith Community Council. It was agreed that the work should be continued to carry out further investigations of archive material with a view to publishing a booklet on the history of the building.

Tom explained that he felt the front elevation had changed over time with different door openings and window sizes. The fine ashlar stonework  and classical proportions indicated a building of importance in the town. Tom thought that the design could have been the work of the architect James Smith or one of his contemparies in the late 17th/early 18th century.  James Smith was responsible for alterations to Dalkeith Palace at around the same time.

On the rear of the building Tom explained that he had revealed a number of different openings that had been blocked including a door at first floor level and evidence of flues. This seemed to indicate that there had been a stair lean too at the rear.  The extent of building at the rear had varied over time.

Please click here to access Tom's final report

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A home owners seminar was arranged at the Dalkeith Arts Centre on the evening of the 22nd May 2013 for Dalkeith and Gorebridge historic building owners.

The aim of the seminar was to assist home owners with advice and guidance on the repair and maintenance of traditional buildings. The experience of running the Dalkeith THI/CARS has highlighted the need to carry out regular maintenance and repair of buildings to avoid more costly repair work if things are left to get progressively worse. Many of the buildings in Dalkeith High Street were in poor condition due to lack of timely repair and maintenance and where repair has been carried out it was often done badly using inappropriate materials and techniques.So the message is, " repair and maintain regularly, don't let minor problems turn into major ones".

Attendees at the seminar were given a Home Owners Maintenance /Repair Guidance leaflet and DVD .

There were 7 expert speakers at the seminar, Jo Parry from Hypostyle Architects who have extensive experience of working with owners of historic buildings, John McKinney from the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Alex Stark from the Stone Federation, John Laing from Edinburgh Colloge, Ali Davey from Historic Scotland, Simon Roberts from the Scottish Government and Rod Lugg Dalkeith THI/CARS Project Manager. Following the presentations attendees had the chance to talk to expert craftsmen at break out tables, there were the Edinburgh Stone Masons, Holyrood Contracts, joiners, Greyfriars Lead and Copper Contractors, Midlothian Roofing Services, Historic Scotland and Edinburgh College.

Over 80 people attended and feedback from the event has been very positive.

There is now the opportunity for owners to attend free home owner workshop sessions at Edinburgh College in the autumn. Please contact Rod Lugg the Dalkeith THI/CARS Project Manager if you are interested in the workshop sessions.

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