Royal High School Preservation Trust is a Scottish Guarantee Company under Company Number SC504433

Registered as a Scottish Charity under Scottish Charity Number SC045779

Registered Office: J. & H. Mitchell W.S., 51 Atholl Road, Pitlochry PH16 5BU



Musis Respublica Floret


"The State Flourishes with the Muses"

(Motto Carved onto The Royal High School)


A new public use for one of our greatest public buildings


Thomas Hamilton’s Royal High School is one of Scotland’s most important buildings, not just for its extraordinary architectural merits, but for its near revolutionary expression of a democratic ideal.   The Building was commissioned by the City in the early 19th Century as a direct response to the privatisation of education, offering free schooling to the Nation’s brightest children in a building deliberately intended to be a beacon to the power of culture at the centre of the City.


Following extensive consultation, the Royal High School Preservation Trust is pleased to submit detailed, fully funded, plans to convert the buildings into three new public performance spaces and a state of the art new home for St. Mary's Music School.  


The Trust believes that the building should return to its rightful position at the cultural heart of Edinburgh, and Richard Murphy Architects' design ensures that its dramatic setting is not just protected, but enhanced.


Please explore the proposals in the following pages.  We would welcome your comments and look forward to your support.



Ready to protect the old Royal High School


The Trust fully recognises that the City of Edinburgh Council is not currently in a position to accept our offer due to its existing commitment to a commercial developer.  However, the contract for the commercial scheme would fall away in the event that they were not granted planning consent.  This will be decided (if necessary after an appeal or enquiry process) over the coming months.  The Trust will hold open its proposal until that process is complete.


If the commercial application were refused the Council would be in the position to dispose of the building as it sees fit. If appropriate the Trust would be happy to enter any new competitive process to acquire the building. This could be completed in a matter of months.



The Royal High School Preservation Trust


Established in April, 2015, the Trust set out five aims for its proposed development of the former Royal High School:


1.    Conservation of the main building

2.    Protection of the setting of the site

3.    An economically sustainable use 

4.    A culturally suitable use 

5.    A substantially public use


The Trust is currently making a detailed planning application to relocate St. Mary's Music School to the site, a proposal which it believes satisfies all of these ambitions.