Transformation work under way
New events venue at College of Surgeons
It is one of the most august institutions in Scotland, known worldwide for providing training and support for medical research. However, it’s not averse to hosting ceilidhs, weddings and even children’s parties.
Ambitious work is under way at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh as it develops into one of the most flexible conference and events venues in the city.
A £1.5 million revamp of a former Edinburgh University language school building will transform it into three floors of event space.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Commercial Enterprises reinvests all profits from its projects into running the organisation.
Scott Mitchell, commercial director, said: “The European Language School, tucked away on a quiet side street, is being completely transformed.
“While the frontage on Hill Place will be enhanced, the real changes will be on the inside and we expect this to become one of the best known venues in Edinburgh, whether for birthday parties, weddings or business conferences
“The building will actually be accessed from our famous pillared entrance opposite the Festival Theatre, through our private gardens into a lobby area with cloakroom.
“Inside we’ll have three floors of purpose-built space to suit everything from exhibitions and ceilidhs to small scale boardroom meetings or a theatre-style auditorium for up to 160 people.
“It will be a hugely versatile space and will sit perfectly between our other venues – the historic grandeur of the Playfair Hall and the glass and chrome modernism of our Quincentenary Conference Hall.
“When it opens it will help cement our growing reputation, built up over the past eight years, for superb venues for the people of Edinburgh, for Scottish businesses and for overseas visitors. It will really help put us on the map with major event booking specialists, both nationally and internationally.
“That’s great news for the local restaurants, shops and businesses on the South Side, as many of our guests will be staying in our Hotel. We are understandably excited at the prospect of opening in May.”
The historic college is best known for its magnificent Playfair Building, dating back to 1832, with rooms ideal for meetings, private dining and gala dinners. It is also home to the famous Surgeons’ Hall Museum, which house collections of international importance.
The Museum is currently being renovated with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will re-open in the autumn and will be available for private tours for events held in the College.
The Quincentenary Building – created to mark the college’s 500th anniversary in 2005 – is a purpose-built conference centre for up to 300 delegates and even boasts a sprung dance floor making it ideal for dinner dances. It is also a popular Festival Fringe venue.
Another event space is the neighbouring King Khalid Building, formerly St Michael’s Church, which has been transformed into an outstanding 158-seated auditorium with catering space, ideal for lectures, product launches and conferences.
The college’s Commercial Enterprises promotes, sells and manages all commercial activities held within the College Campus, which include the four-star 77-bedroom hotel, Ten Hill Place. All profits support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgery.
Lesley Williams head of Marketing Edinburgh’s business tourism team, said: “Our main priority is promoting Edinburgh as one of the finest cities anywhere for holding business events.
“The Surgeons’ Hall name is already a major draw for visiting conferences from elsewhere in the UK and internationally. This new venue will be a brilliant addition to help bring valuable business tourism to the city.”