About Us

The Royal High School Preservation Trust was established in 2015 to conserve and protect the Thomas Hamilton building on Calton Hill; to find an economically sustainable and culturally suitable use for the whole site; and to establish substantial public access and usage.

Royal High School Preservation Trust

“ Let’s allow one of our greatest buildings to be repopulated by the people of Edinburgh, used and enjoyed by both citizens and visitors to the city, and part of a living, vibrant and forward-looking community. ”
Grant Mackenzie, Executive Director, RHSPT

By 2016, our proposals to create a National Centre for Music in the Royal High School building received enthusiastic and robust support from significant heritage, city planning and education partners – including Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh World Heritage, the Cockburn Association, the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, the New Town and Broughton Community Council, and the Edinburgh Urban Design Panel, as well as over 3, 000 members of the public.

Inside shot of building, seating area all around Credit: Liam Carlton

The restoration project took a major step forward in March 2023 with the formal commencement of a lease agreement between City of Edinburgh Council and the Royal High School Preservation Trust. The agreement enabled the RHSPT to finally take possession of the site of the former Royal High School and begin the process of creating a sustainable long-term future for the A-listed historic site. 

Having planned for so long to conserve and protect the building for the City and the nation it was an exciting milestone for the Trust and enabling works leading to the iconic building’s restoration commenced in the summer of 2023. 

In 2024, revised plans will be submitted to Edinburgh City Council for final approval.

A living building

“ The RHSPT scheme ultimately aims to connect the building to the city to the people, creating a place where communities can flourish, where heritage and innovation work side by side, and where enjoyment and education go hand in hand. ”
Carol Nimmo, Chair, New Town and Broughton Community Council (NTBCC) & Chair, Perfect Harmony Development Board

The passage of time from 2016 to 2021 allowed us to consult on and revise some aspects of our design proposal and to evolve our ambitions for the building into a vision for a National Centre for Music with clearly defined spaces for education, community engagement and performance, set in generous and fully accessible gardens.


The vision is backed by the generosity of the Dunard Fund who have gifted £45m to the project. In October 2021, City of Edinburgh Council approved our plans to restore the iconic Thomas Hamilton building as a world-class centre for music education and public performance for the benefit of the whole of Scotland – and in the spring of 2023, the custodianship of the building was handed over to the RHSPT and that work began.

West Garden Architect impression of the West Garden


The Royal High School Preservation Trust trustees are Richard Austin, Amanda Forsyth, Nicola Gordon, Colin Liddell MBE and Carol Nimmo. 

View our Trustees
External shot of RHSPT building