The Victorian era certainly left its mark on Edinburgh’s landscape: from 1800s tenement flats, to the iconic Victoria Street leading down to the Grassmarket, which was named shortly after the start of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837. Below we share our building’s history, as well as look to other landmarks in Edinburgh’s landscape that share The Hub’s 19th century heritage.
The Hub was built in 1845 as the Victoria Hall to house the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland – though interestingly, the building was never consecrated as a Church. Our historic building was used for various purposes throughout the 20th century, but fell into disuse in the 1980s. After a transformation into offices and performance spaces before the turn of the millennium, we are now a unique venue, conference centre, and, of course, the home of the Edinburgh International Festival. From celebratory ceilidhs to intimate weddings, Christmas parties or conferences for 200, we can do it all.
Jenners, often referred to as the ‘Harrods of the North’, first opened as a department store in 1838 to offer Edinburgh’s residents fine fabrics previously only available in London’s fashion houses. After a blazing fire ruined the building in 1892, a new, redesigned store opened on the same site in 1895, which you can see today. Jenners is now home to House of Fraser, but many original Victorian features are still visible, such as the lavish decorations on the exterior, or the high glass ceilings that can be seen from the inside balconies. Next time you’re enjoying some retail therapy on Princes Street, keep your eyes peeled for all these amazing features.
Fettes College is a true icon of Edinburgh’s skyline, and is even said to be inspiration for Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter series. At the time of opening in 1870, Fettes educated only 53 boys, but today the prestigious College co-educates over 700 pupils. Fettes features many architectural styles and the school has been praised as “one of Scotland’s greatest buildings” by modern architectural experts.
FORTH RAIL BRIDGE
Have you ever arrived by train into Edinburgh from the north? You might have travelled over the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge that crosses the Firth of Forth between North and South Queensferry. A railway icon not only in Edinburgh, but across Scotland, the bridge opened in 1890 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A globally-renowned engineering masterpiece, the Bridge was the world’s first major steel structure project. In 2012, a full-scale restoration project was completed on the Bridge.
History writes itself into the streets of great cities, and this is no truer than in Edinburgh. With our proud home at the top of the Royal Mile, and the highest steeple in Edinburgh, we can boast about our building’s fine Victorian architecture, and we’re sure you’ll agree.