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Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Protesters treasure RLS inn
Hawes Inn
The inn featured in Stevenson's novel 'Kidnapped'
Campaigners have been demonstrating outside one of Scotland's most historic pubs in a final attempt to stop its modernisation.

The Hawes Inn at South Queensferry near Edinburgh - which featured in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel 'Kidnapped' - closed for renovation on Saturday.

Its owners, leisure giant Bass, insists the work is badly needed to improve facilities.

Opponents claim the changes will strip the pub of all its character, and leave it exactly like many others.

Pub sign
Owners Bass insist the work is badly needed to improve facilities.
Stevenson is said to have been inspired to write his classic novel 'Kidnapped' while staying in room 13 at the 16th century inn in 1886.

And it was at inn in the shadow of the Forth Rail Bridge that a key scene in the novel - the abduction of David Balfour - was planned.

Stevenson's affection for South Queensferry is reflected in his character's words on his return from the Highlands: "It was a fairly built burgh, the houses of good stone, many put me to shame for foul tatters".

The inn was also mentioned in The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott - who called it 'a very decent sort of place'.

Bass plans a major refurbishment of the 350-year-old pub turning it into one of its Heritage Inns.

Opponents say Bass is guilty of cultural vandalism.

Protesters sign
Opponents claim the changes will strip the pub of all its character
Colin Valentine of the Campaign for Real Ale said: "This is a major blow because there are fewer and fewer left and we are trying to keep the heritage here.

"South Queensferry is an historic town and The Hawes is an integral part of the village."

Bass says the protesters' fears are groundless.

It says it values the pub's historic associations insisting it will retain character after the refurbishment.

The company says the work is badly needed to safeguard the inn's future.

It also says several new jobs will be created when the pub opens later in the year.

See also:

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