The Hub


The Hub is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival, and one of the city's most visible landmarks; its tremendous Gothic spire is the highest point in central Edinburgh, towering over even the nearby castle.

Originally built as an Assembly Hall and offices for the Church of Scotland, from the outside the building has the appearance of an especially grandiose church. The rich architectural detailing and the spire were designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, author of 'The True Principles of Christian Architecture', though he is more famous for his work on the Houses of Parliament. The overall form of the building was the work of James Gillespie Graham, another leading light of the Gothic revival.

However, when the Festival moved in in 1999, much of the interior was radically redesigned, and the Hub now presents an interesting mix of stark, Gothic stonework and vivid primary colours, showcasing a collection of modern art and craft work. The juxtaposition is very characteristic of Edinburgh, and really, it probably shouldn't work; but oft-times it does, and this is one of those times.

Hub Hallway

Hub Door Hub Stairs with RopeSculpture Hall 2Sculpture Hall 1On the StairsSSS HingeDiamonds (♦) 2Clubs (♣)A CornerShelfUpwards Blue and White Dunard Peek Hub Inscriptions Stone HeadsGriffinsStarry Starry DoorChurch Drops  Straight Up

Main HallThe tremendously grand Main Hall was once the main debating chamber for the assembled Church of Scotland, and it shows; the room is dominated by a thronelike pulpit, from which a bishop might hold forth to audience of more than five hundred. This room now holds concerts, workshops,  corporate gatherings and so on, and its walls are patterned with concentric triangles in The Hub's characteristic primary-colour palette. 

Dunard PeekNext to the Main Hall  is the Dunard Library, which is strangely devoid of books - instead it houses a bar and space for up to 100 people to stand up in and mill around. This room is dominated by great stained-glass windows, and surprisingly green walls.

Glass Room, Late Afternoon Above these is the Glass Room, a smaller meeting room with quite lovely views across Edinburgh, through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Cafe HubOn the ground floor is Cafe Hub, which serves very nice food and generally has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere even during the hustle of the Festival. Although their range of vegan options is pretty limited, they are accommodating if you ask.  

Office Beams

Right on the top floor, which is closed to the public, are the offices of the Edinburgh International Festival. Before the Festival moved into the building, it was in a state of serious disrepair. Besides patching it up, the opportunity was taken to put in this new floor, which meant propping up the roof with hefty metal beams to replace the mighty wooden struts which had passed through the space where the floor would be.

Hub from Victoria StreetHub from GreyfriarsSouth-West from North BridgeHub Front Upside Down
 Misty Hub from Princes StreetGarden ViewView Over Waverley   

Ashtray AgainRainy Globe

The balcony on the top floor (reserved for staff - sorry) has wonderful views across Edinburgh, and this enormous metal globe ashtray reflecting them.

At the very top of everything is Pugin's elaborate spire, shooting skyward, its peak visible for miles around.

snowfencecurve Mini-HubEdinburgh Skyline

Hub Mirror 2Hub Mirror 1

Across the road is the Camera Obscura and Hall of Illusions, and for several months now they have had these distorting mirrors outside to catch the eyes of visitors. It's a lot of fun watching people gurning and stomping at their reflections from the windows above!

All text and photography © Fergus Ray Murray, but released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - you are free to reproduce it for non-commercial purposes, with attribution, for works which are also released under this licence. I'd like to hear about it if you do, though. 

The images on this page are hosted on Flickr, and in most cases they link to larger versions.

I work at The Hub, as Online Officer for the Edinburgh International Festival, but this page is part of my personal site may not reflect the views of the Festival or The Hub.