Former rubber factory to open as art hub in Edinburgh

image copyrightPA
image captionChief executive Shan Edwards looks at Thomas Kilpper's work The Politics of Heritage

A former rubber factory in the heart of Edinburgh will reopen as an artists' hub this weekend.

The North British Rubber Factory building in Fountainbridge has undergone a multimillion-pound transformation to become the new home of Edinburgh Printmakers.

The Castle Mills complex will open its doors on Saturday.

It has a print studio, learning space, archive, artist accommodation, art galleries, a shop and cafe.

image copyrightPA

Shan Edwards, Edinburgh Printmakers chief executive, said: "As an arts organisation, breathing new life into an industrial building and making it accessible and welcoming to the public is part of our vision for the future.

"This former hub of industry and innovation will maintain those roots now as a creative hotspot in Edinburgh.

"As one of the largest print studios in Europe, Edinburgh Printmakers will be an international destination for artists and enthusiasts alike."

The former factory employed more than 8,000 people at its peak, producing the first Hunter Wellington boot, tyres, golf balls, hot water bottles and other products.

image copyrightEdinburgh Printmakers

Rubber production ceased in 1969 and, following its use by Scottish & Newcastle Brewery, the Grade C-listed, council-owned building has lain empty since 2004.

The opening exhibition, The Politics Of Heritage vs The Heritage Of Politics, sees German-born artist Thomas Kilpper present a series of overlapping prints on the floor, back wall and ceiling.

image copyrightPA

Donald Wilson, culture and communities convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "The new hub has transformed what was a derelict listed building into a brand new arts facility, in keeping with the character of the building and the area.

"An exciting future lies ahead for Edinburgh Printmakers and I'm sure Castle Mills will provide huge social and economic benefits for the local community and greatly enhance Fountainbridge's cultural offering."

The Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and a number of trusts and foundations also backed the fundraising campaign.

To mark the opening a series of free tours will take place at the weekend between 10:00 and 17:00.

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