The iconic McEwan Hall, scene of graduations, exams and other unforgettable events for more than a century, is undergoing major redevelopment work.
The hall, built between 1888 and 1897 through the largest single private donation in the University’s history, from the brewer William McEwan, has long been in need of repair, and while undertaking those works the University is restoring the building to its original status as a major asset for both the University and the city of Edinburgh.
The first stages of work during 2015 included the restoration of external stonework, improvements to the building’s foundations and the remedying of damp problems at ground level. What was previously the basement will be opened up to create a new entrance hall and visitor spaces, which will have a modern glazed entrance pavilion within a new circular amphitheatre. A new corner stairwell will provide access to all levels for the first time.
The redevelopment addresses longstanding issues that have left the building underutilised, including limited accessibility. New ventilation and heating systems are being installed to improve both efficiency and comfort for the building’s users. Better humidity control will also help preserve the hall’s celebrated organ, which underwent a major restoration in 2014.
Bristo Square was closed in 2015 for relandscaping. This will include tree planting, more social space and improved accessibility. The monument outside the hall, which commemorates its opening in 1897, has been temporarily removed, to be restored and returned when the work is complete. Graduations in 2015 took place in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, as they will in 2016.
The restoration project is due to be completed in 2017, at a cost of £33 million.
Thank you to alumni and friends around the world who have supported the most significant restoration of McEwan Hall since its construction in 1897. The Pathway to Enlightenment appeal has now closed and we will be in touch with donors directly. Please do let us know if your details have changed since you made your donation.