Parliament Hall Open For Fringe
23 June 2014, 05:41
Scotland's historic Parliament Hall will be a Fringe venue for the first time when it hosts an exhibition commemorating a £58 million redevelopment project.
The exhibition is being launched today by Scotland's top judge, Lord Gill.
Parliament Hall, situated within Parliament House, was the home of the pre-Union Scottish Parliament in the 17th and early 18th century and now houses Scotland's Supreme Courts.
Renovation work on the landmark building, which holds the Court of Session and the High Court, began in 2008 and was completed last year.
The Scottish Court Service (SCS) said the project to equip the building - which lies just off the Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh - with the necessary modern infrastructure was completed on time and on budget.
Lord Gill, the Lord President and chairman of the SCS board, said: "Behind the facade 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. It is vitally important that this building is properly maintained for future generations.''
He added: "This work was carried out while the business of the courts continued, and its success has been achieved by effective planning and co-operation.''
As part of the revamp, the building's traditional courtrooms have been preserved but adapted to allow the presentation of evidence, productions and documents, electronically and remotely, from any part of the world. It also involved the renewal of IT systems and fire safety measures.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, top prosecutor Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland and the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, James Wolffe, are due to attend a ceremony at Parliament Hall to mark the completion of the project.
The exhibition, entitled Parliament House, The Hidden Gem, will run from July 28 to August 29 at what is becoming venue 402 for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The display promises to provide a glimpse into the history, traditions and current functions of the building.
SCS chief executive Eric McQueen said: "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.''