A view of the Tron Kirk looking down the Royal Mile

Tron Kirk to re-open to the public

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The City of Edinburgh Council has handed the keys of the Tron Kirk on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to Scottish Historic Buildings’ Trust (SHBT) as the new custodians of the building. The council selected SHBT as its preferred partner to restore the Tron in 2021 and the charity has now signed a 5 year lease in an agreement that will see it take on the management role of the building as it develops the restoration project. This will convert to a 125-year lease when the capital project is ready to begin.

Scottish Design Exchange (SDX), the social enterprise company that offers retail outlets for Scotland’s artists and makers, occupies the Tron as SHBT’s tenant while the Trust undertakes a feasibility study to set out a future vision for the building, working with the local community to develop a sustainable use.

SDX, which has shops in George Street in Edinburgh, and in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, offers space in the Tron to artists from across Scotland to sell their work. The indoor marketplace opened in July 2022.

The Tron Kirk exterior on the Royal Mile
Colin McLean Photography

Chair of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust Maggie Wright said:

“Scottish Historic Buildings Trust is privileged to be working with the City of Edinburgh Council to reopen the Tron Kirk, which has been a part of the Old Town of Edinburgh since the 17th century. We are delighted to welcome SDX to this much-loved Edinburgh landmark. Their tenancy represents a ‘meanwhile use’ of the building and will provide an engaging space for locals and tourists to explore as we consult with the community on its long-term future.”

“Our partnership with SDX continues SHBT’s connections to the creative industries. Our work at Custom House in Leith has seen the building transformed into a vibrant creative hub, providing a temporary home for a wide range of artisans and artists to work collaboratively while the restoration project is developed.”

SDX’s proposal to use the Tron Kirk as an indoor market space for local Edinburgh artists will showcase independent artists and designers from the area to both tourist traffic and locals, who will sell a variety of products varying from original art, glass, ceramics, jewellery and woodwork. With exciting ideas around stalls, fundraising and exhibition space, the group’s creative outlook will be an asset to the Old Town of Edinburgh.

Councillor Mandy Watt, Depute Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“Together we’re securing the future of Edinburgh’s historic Tron Kirk and I’m delighted to see the keys handed over.

“This is a building which has withstood centuries of change. It has survived the Great Fire of Edinburgh and two World Wars. In recent years, however, it has been at serious risk of disrepair.

“Scottish Historic Buildings Trust has an excellent track record of preserving buildings like this. Their work securing sustainable futures for Riddle’s Court in the Old Town and Custom House in Leith are two great examples.

“I’m confident they will do the same with the Tron Kirk, which has acted as a gathering place for the people of Edinburgh for almost 400 years. It’s great that we’ll see this tradition continue when doors reopen on 1 July for an indoor market space.”

CEO of Scottish Design Exchange Lynzi Leroy said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to bring local artists and designers to such a well-loved historical building at the heart of the Royal Mile. The Scottish Design Exchange has been helping artists from all over Scotland to showcase their work since 2015, and we know that their products are loved by locals and tourists alike.”

SDX opened the doors of the Tron Kirk on 1st July 2022, and further updates on the Tron Kirk will be available here on our website.

The Tron Kirk Project

Learn more about the ongoing restoration project of the Tron Kirk, as well as the building’s history spanning nearly 400 years.

Visit our project page

Visit the Tron Kirk

Read more about what’s happening at the Tron before the restoration project and organise a visit to the market.

Learn more about SDX

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