News In Focus
Parliament House to join Fringe with redevelopment exhibition
Parliament Hall, the centrepiece of Scotland's buildings housing the Supreme Courts and Advocates' Library, is to become an Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue for the first time this year when it hosts an exhibition commemorating a five-year redevelopment project.
The exhibition was launched today (23 June) by the Lord President, Lord Gill, Chairman of the Scottish Court Service (SCS), but from 28 July to 29 August it will become venue 402 for the Edinburgh Fringe.
It marks the completion of the £58m redevelopment project to restore the historic Parliament House and equip it with the infrastructure to support the courts in the modern age. Work began in 2008 and was completed last year. The project involved the renewal of all mechanical, electrical and information technology installations, fire safety measures, the introduction of energy efficiency schemes and the improvement of environmental controls.
Unveiling a plaque commemorating the completion, Lord Gill said: “Behind the façade of Parliament House is a collection of buildings ranging over seven floors and containing more than 700 rooms. The oldest building, Parliament Hall, is nearly 400 years old, and it is vitally important that this building is properly maintained for future generations.
“I wish to thank the many individuals and teams who were involved in this project. This work was carried out while the business of the courts continued, and its success has been achieved by effective planning and co-operation.”
Scottish Court Service chief executive Eric McQueen added: “The SCS is responsible for preserving this 17th century building, which is in a world heritage site and the work involved was a significant challenge. The success of the project, delivered on time and on budget, has resulted in the improvement of facilities and access for all court users, including victims and witnesses.
“The traditional courtrooms have been fully preserved while at the same time adapted to enable the presentation of evidence, productions and documents, electronically and remotely, from any part of the world. This is part of our ambition to put digital innovation at the heart of our service.”
The exhibition – "Parliament House, The Hidden Gem" – provides a glimpse into the history, traditions and purpose of the Supreme Courts building. It will be open Monday to Friday, 1030-1600, and is sponsored by Currie & Brown Asset Management & Construction Consultancy (project managers), and Interserve Construction (principal contractors).