Cabinet Secretary for Justice and local MSP, Kenny MacAskill, today officially re-opened The White House in Craigmillar. The iconic art deco roadhouse which was built in 1936 has just undergone a year-long restoration.
The restoration project was co-ordinated by PARC Craigmillar Ltd and was funded by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund.
Speaking at the opening McAskill said ““Today we can rightly celebrate the newly refurbished White House, which has become an important symbol of the changing fortunes of Craigmillar.
“This community is being transformed, with new housing developments, schools, open spaces and leisure facilities. But at the heart of any thriving community are the buildings that bring people together. And that is what the White House was – and now can be again thanks to this splendid restoration project.”
PARC acquired the White House in 2007 as part of the overall drive to develop and regenerate Craigmillar’s town centre.PARC see the White House as an important centre piece in the area’s, one of Edinburgh’s most deprived, regeneration. PARC’s Operations Director, Eric Adair, said: “The White House stands at the heart of the Craigmillar regeneration area, and its restoration will be a source of genuine pride for everyone living here. This has been a tremendous achievement by all involved, and is testament to the strength of community we enjoy here in Craigmillar.”
PARC have been actively engaging with community groups over the future use of building. Adair says: “We want to get the building back to being the focal point of the community. We have been talking to various community groups and would like some of them to be based in the building. And not just being based here but providing activities that will bring people in and out of the building.”
According to Adair there has been great enthusiasm from the local community over the refurbishment of one of the areas most loved landmarks. He says: “We always saw the White House as a focal point of the regeneration of Craigmillar but the excitement from the community has been unbelievable. Even the amount of people just walking past and asking what is happening today is fantastic.”
Lifelong Craigmillar resident Johnni Stanton was at the opening and was delighted to see the building restored to it’s former glory. He said: “I remember the building from when I was a boy and a young man – more the outside that the inside as I wasn’t really a drinker. It is iconic and it is wonderful to see it looking like this again.”
The White House design team brought together Edinburgh-based architects Smith Scott Mullan Associates working closely with contractors Thomas Johnstone. Inside the building, painstaking effort was made in recreating authentic art deco interiors – using the building’s original linen blueprint unearthed from the City Council’s archive as a design guide – to accentuate the smooth lines and light filled spaces of the original building.
The White House’s reopening marks the start of 12-week exhibition showcasing the past, present and future of Craigmillar. The exhibition will feature displays of the White House itself and the renovation project, the area’s heritage and PARC’s plans for the future regeneration of the area.