Housebuilder Arrives with Bells On at Boroughmuir

by Francesca

Small piece of history returned to Boroughmuir High School by CALA –

A LOCAL high school in Edinburgh has been presented with the original 1930s school bell discovered in the property restoration of its previous home in Viewforth.

During the sensitive refurbishment of the former Boroughmuir High School building, the CALA Homes (East) construction team rescued the artefact and has now gifted it to the new school.

CALA delivered and presented the bell to pupils and David Dempster, Headteacher of Boroughmuir High School at the new premises, where it will sit pride of place in school’s display cabinet dedicated to the school’s history.

Speaking after receiving the bell, David Dempster, said: “We’re delighted that CALA has recognised and restored this significant part of our school’s long history. The bell will remain with us as a reminder to all of our staff and pupils of the past.”

A Grade B listed building, the former Boroughmuir High School was occupied from 1913 and was one of the first in Edinburgh to use steel frame architecture.

The large school bell was installed in the elevated tower and was used to mark the end of classes until February 2018 when the move was made to the new location at the bottom of Viewforth where the road meets Dundee Street.

The recovered bell was produced in 1938, as is inscribed around the body, by specialist bell casters and hangers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, John Bryden & Sons.

Craig Donaldson, CALA’s Project Manager at Boroughmuir, helped ensure the safe delivery of the historic bell to the new school.

He said:

“As with every restoration project that we undertake, at Boroughmuir we are working to breathe new life in what is an important building for the city.

“Externally the building will remain largely untouched. We are sensitively restoring all 430 windows, as well as repointing and painting where required to bring it back to its best.

“Inside, we’re carefully renovating the former school into beautiful modern apartments, with nods back to history throughout.

“We were delighted to get to a point where we could safely retrieve the bell. It’s a privilege to be able to give something back to the school that spent so many years on this site and it will hopefully give the staff and students a small reminder of their heritage every day.”

CALA’s involvement at Boroughmuir follows a string of successful developments in the capital, Work began at Boroughmuir in March last year the final development will comprise 87 one, two, three and four-bedroom contemporary apartments.

A group of independent experts surveyed CALA’s plans for the development, concluding that Boroughmuir would deliver an economic boost to the local area of £45m, as well as the creation of 105 jobs per year of building work.

The development benefits from all the amenities, shops, bars and restaurants in the nearby Bruntsfield and Fountainbridge areas and is well-connected by both bus and train with Haymarket train station only ten minutes’ walk away.

CALA Homes, as part of the CALA Group, is a major UK home builder focused on building well-designed, high-quality homes in prime locations throughout the South of England, the Midlands and Scotland.

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