Former Royal High School – looking on the bright side

Dear Spurtle  

The old Royal High School is one of the most magnificent buildings in Edinburgh, and it is heartbreaking to see it in its current state [Breaking news, 16.1.15].

I cannot prevent myself from voicing the thought that I wish the Scottish Parliament could have used the building – with an atrium by Norman Foster it could have been Scotland's Reichstag or British Museum. The debating chamber in the High School building is (or was, at least) a magnificent and inspiring space.

Looking on the bright side, Duddingston House Properties' proposals don't involve housing, student accommodation or retail! – three uses to which I think the building is completely and utterly unsuited. Some sort of cultural space would be wonderful, but without significant public funds, or a friendly Guggenheim with cash to burn, who could feel confident that such a plan would ever see the light of day, and be able to support itself? 

Edinburgh is by no means oversupplied with world-class hotels (or indeed, currently, with world-class tourists). I think the building would make a wonderful hotel – the location is good, and there are stunning views. This building has been waiting for over 40 years for a use; we are told that this is the most viable proposal; I for one hope it goes ahead.  

Caroline Roussot

(Cumberland Street)