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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Photography centre plan develops
The former Royal High School is one of Edinburgh's most famous landmarks
The building is one of Edinburgh's most famous landmarks
One of Scotland's most iconic buildings could soon have a new tenant.

The former Royal High School on Edinburgh's Calton Hill is to be home to the first Scottish National Photography centre.

After two years of campaigning, it has been given an undisclosed six figure sum from major sponsor, Sony.

It is hoped the centre will offer space for the 30,000 photographs currently stored in the photographic collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.

The money from the sponsors will be used to develop not just the High School building, but the entire site.

Scottish charity, the Edinburgh University Settlement, is already resident in the complex.

Since 1993, the organisation, which provides training and education for disadvantaged people, has been running its operation from the grade A-listed building owned by Edinburgh City Council.

Photography touches all of our lives on a daily basis
Steve Dowdle, Sony UK

The Scottish National Photography Centre's aim is to become one of the finest centres of its kind in the world.

As well as exhibiting the best in national and international photography it will celebrate Scotland's historic role in the development of photography.

Steve Dowdle, managing director of Sony UK sales, said it was delighted to be involved in a project of such cultural and historical significance.

He said: "Photography touches all of our lives on a daily basis, and therefore provides an artistic medium that connects and inspires all ages.

"We very much look forward to playing our part in the development of the SNPC and to providing our ongoing support to the SNPC project team."

Aerial view of Edinburgh - by Alfred G.Buckham. (Courtesy Scottish National Photography)
An aerial view of Edinburgh in the last century, taken by Alfred G.Buckham
The old Royal High School was mooted as the site of the Scottish Parliament in the run-up to the failed 1979 referendum.

And it was again the preferred choice of Nationalists after the successful referendum vote in 1997.

The building is a short distance from Rock House, the building where David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson - pioneers of modern photography - worked more than 150 years ago.

SNPC chairman Dr Michael Shea said there was "a gratifying surge of interest" in photography in the UK.

He added: "With new centres for photography opening throughout Europe, Scotland's distinct photographic legacy deserves a focal point to celebrate and advance this most democratic of all contemporary art forms."

The National Galleries of Scotland welcomed the project as good news for visual arts.

Sir Timothy Clifford said it was pleased to be associated with the SNPC and offered its "enthusiastic support".


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