The Hub, Edinburgh
Highland Tolbooth St John’s Church
The Hub seen from the Lawnmarket during the Edinburgh Festival.
|Operator||Edinburgh International Festival|
|Architect||James Gillespie Graham and Augustus Welby Pugin|
- Tolbooth Kirk redirects here, referring to the Victorian building; not be confused with the Tolbooth Kirk congregation which met in the north-west corner of St. Giles High Kirk when that building accommodated 4 separate congregations.
The Hub, at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival, and a central source of information on all the Edinburgh Festivals. Its gothic spire - the highest point in central Edinburgh - towers over the surrounding buildings below the castle. The building design was the result of a collaboration between Edinburgh architect J Gillespie Graham and the famous gothic revivalist Augustus Pugin. It was constructed between 1842 and 1845.
The inside houses the Hub Cafe; Hub Tickets, the central box office for the International Festival, which also sells tickets for a wide range of other events; a Main Hall with a capacity of 420, used as a venue for concerts and so on; and two smaller venues, the Glass Room and the Dunard Library, suitable for smaller events.
Prior to the completion of the new Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood in 2004, the Hub was occasionally used for meetings of the Scottish Parliament when the Church of Scotland's General Assembly Hall was unavailable. The Parliament returned to the Hub for two weeks following the collapse of a beam in its debating chamber on 2 March 2006.
Previous use as a church
What is now "The Hub" was built for the Church of Scotland both as a parish church and as a purpose-built General Assembly Hall. It was originally known as the Victoria Hall. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland last met here in 1929, when the Church of Scotland united with the United Free Church of Scotland, thereafter using the former United Free Church's Assembly Hall on The Mound (and continuing to this day.)
In 1979 the Highland Tolbooth St John's Church building was closed, the congregation uniting with the nearby Greyfriars Kirk. The congregation had been notable for its services in Gaelic as well as English. The building was then virtually unused until becoming "The Hub".
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