Victoria Quay, Edinburgh
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Victoria Quay (VQ) (Cidhe Bhictòria in Scottish Gaelic) is a Scottish Government building situated in Leith, Edinburgh. Designed by Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall, construction began in 1993 and the building was officially opened by the Queen on Monday 1 July 1996. Civil servants began moving to Victoria Quay in phases from autumn 1995 and into 1996 before the official opening ceremony.
The building was constructed on redeveloped dockland and housed parts of what was known as the Scottish Office prior to 1999. With the advent of parliamentary devolution in 1999, the function was transferred to the then Scottish Executive, now Scottish Government. 2,200 civil servants work at Victoria Quay making it the Scottish Government's largest building in terms of size and occupation.
Construction of this building kick-started Leith's regeneration programme proper. New luxury flats, converted bond warehouses, bistros, bars, and restaurants followed. This regeneration is continuing today, with high-rise construction work on reclaimed dockland just a few hundred metres behind Ocean Terminal. Ocean Terminal also opened later, arguably due to a need and demand from the 2,000 civil servants working at Victoria Quay, as well as from local people. It is possible that the Scottish Office may have had these positive consequences in mind when construction was agreed.
Prior to Victoria Quay opening, which gave the then Scottish Office a presence in north Edinburgh, the posts were based at New St. Andrew's House (NSAH) on James Craig Walk (above and behind the St. James Centre); Jeffrey Street and Brandon Street in central Edinburgh. New St. Andrew's House (NSAH) was then closed in phases from 1995 to 1996 due to asbestos which was found to be present in the walls of the building. New St. Andrew's House lay empty from 1995 until its demolition in 2017.
To give perspective to the size of Victoria Quay, VQ is, in fact, a few feet short of the length of the actual RMS Titanic, and there are some prominent nods to naval architecture in the design of the building.
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