The next phase of work to repair and restore Panmure House, the final home of Adam Smith, in Edinburgh, is about to get underway with conservation work to restore and conserve the exterior of the building.
Built in 1691, Panmure House has stood in the heart of Edinburgh for over 300 years. The £430,000 programme of works will involve repairing and re-slating the seventeenth century roof, conservation of the exterior stonework and replacement of the timber sash and casement windows.
Starting in early July and scheduled to take nine months, the works are supported by a £150,000 grant from Edinburgh World Heritage and funding from the Friends of Panmure House, as well as individual donations from around the world. The contractors for this phase of the work are Bathgate based Ashwood Scotland Ltd, a local company with expertise in the conservation of historic buildings.
The work is part of a £3.6m overall project to restore the only surviving home of the great economist and philosopher, Adam Smith (1723-1790) who spent the last 12 years of his life at Panmure House. Despite its historical significance the house had been left derelict for nearly half a century, and was at risk of being forgotten, until it was purchased by Edinburgh Business School (EBS) at Heriot Watt University in 2008.
EBS aims to conserve and adapt the A-listed building as a living memorial to one of the most influential members of the Scottish Enlightenment and to develop Smith’s house as a world-class centre for education, events, debates concerning Smith’s life and current economic issues.
Professor Keith Lumsden, Academic Director and Founder of Edinburgh Business School, and the chair of the fundraising committee of the Panmure House Campaign, said, “Adam Smith is often said to be the world’s first economist. He is a vital part of Scotland’s heritage and a beacon of intellectual endeavour. Revitalising his last home as an educational centre will help ensure his pioneering thinking lives on in the minds of future generations.
“We are delighted to be getting this vital stage of the project to renovate Panmure house underway, making it wind and water tight and restoring the exterior to its former glory.”
Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said, “Panmure House is an important historic building, not only because of its links to Adam Smith, the Enlightenment and modern socio-economic thinking, but also as rare survival of a seventeenth century town mansion. We welcome the carefully considered scheme for its re-use as a centre for economics and social studies, very much in keeping with the spirit of its past.
“Rethinking a significant building at risk in this way will support the surrounding area, bringing wider benefits for the people of the Canongate today.”
Archie Meikle, Managing Director of Ashwood Scotland, said, “We are delighted to be able to bring our wealth of expertise to such a fantastic project.  We are very proud to be given the opportunity to rejuvenate such a prestigious, historical building for its unique 21st century purpose.”