Holyrood North Site Celebrates 10 years of success

A ceremony is taking place today to mark ten years since the commencement of the redevelopment of the Holyrood North site, with the official unveiling of a poem by Edinburgh’s first appointed Makar, Stewart Conn. The poem celebrates the transformation of the former brewery site and is dedicated to the late Sir Alick Rankin who, as chairman of Scottish & Newcastle Plc in the early 1990s, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Holyrood Brewery Foundation, which kick-started this renaissance.

Stewart Conn’s couplets have been laser cut into stainless steel chequerplate at the apron of the new Clocktower piazza next to The Tun on Holyrood Road. Sir Alick’s widow Lady Rankin will unveil the Makar’s words at 12 noon to an invited gathering of those who have contributed to and benefited from this regeneration project.

A development competition instigated by Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust (the development vehicle created by the Foundation) was won by Development Services Partnership in late 1993, since when the 5 acre site has been selectively demolished, landscaped and re-constructed by a variety of developers and end users, under John C Hope’s sensitive masterplan. This has resulted in an eclectic mix of housing, hotels and other buildings, both new and refurbished – many of which have won awards – and which are now home to a plethora of new commercial, cultural, retail and leisure users, such as BBC Scotland, Royal Fine Arts for Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library and the British Council.

Frank Spratt, Managing Director of DSP said “The Holyrood North Site Project has been a major part of my life since late 1992. However DSP would never have has this opportunity without the character and vision of Sir Alick Rankin”

John Shepherd, developer of The Tun and the Clocktower, and hosting today’s event enthused “Stewart Conn seemed the obvious choice, but when we met here last October I think he was a little nervous about what lay ahead, never having been asked to write an ode to a building site before! I hope all will agree he has been more than equal to the task.”

The plaque also lists many of the organisations, including developers, architects, consultants and agents who have contributed to redevelopment of the site.

For further information contact

John Shepherd,


tel: 0131 226 1099

m: 07850 789631

Frank Spratt,

Development Services Partnership

tel: 0131 558 9445

Notes for Editors

The Holyrood North site, formerly owned and operated by Scottish and Newcastle Plc and transferred to Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust by the Holyrood Brewery Foundation, covers some 4.5 acres, The redevelopment, based on the John C Hope masterplan, was managed and co-ordinated by Development Services Partnership Limited, who split into some 17 individual serviced plots for sale to developers or end users, mainly prior to the announcement of the siting of new Scottish Parliament. The total development cost has been estimated at £50 million, although the development value is now probably at least double that figure. The majority of the funding has been provided by private sources. Public Funding on the North Site has accounted for approximately £3 million of the development cost with approximately £1 million from SEEL for the demolition and accommodation works, approximately £1.3 million grant from Scottish Homes for the social housing developments and £0.7 million from the Scottish Arts lottery fund for the Scottish Poetry Library.

Award winning buildings on the Holyrood North Site

The Tun: Whiteburn Holyrood Ltd/Allan Murray Architects

  • BCO Award 2003 Commercial Workplace Scotland
  • BCO Award 2003 Commercial Workplace National

112 Canongate: Old Town Housing Association/Richard Murphy Architects

  • Saltire Society Award 2000 – New Housing

Morgan Court Student Housing: Ungless & Latimer

  • Civic Trust Commendation 2000

Scottish Poetry Library: Malcolm Fraser Architects

  • Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture 1997
  • Civic Trust Award 2000
  • Edinburgh Architectural Association Silver Medal 2000
  • Scottish Design Award 2000
  • RIBA Award 2000

Regeneration of Scotland High Commission 2000

Holyrood Park: Teague Homes/Campbell & Arnott

  • Saltire Society Award
  • Chartered Institute of Building Award

Holyrood North Site: Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust/John C Hope Architects

  • Dynamic Place Award 2001 for Open Spaces