As the oldest deaf charity in the world, we have called 49 Albany Street in Edinburgh our home since 1889. We understand the significance our building has for the deaf community and its heritage. That’s why we have committed to the ongoing restoration of the building, ensuring we can offer a space that is fit to serve our communities today, while preserving our history.
Since work began in November 2021, we have continued to work on a range of external repairs identified by conservation architects Simpson & Brown. To date, repairs have been focused on three main areas: stonework, window frames, and the roof. The building restoration works are now nearing completion. Here’s what’s happened so far.
Stonework at the front and rear of the building has been restored. During this time, we took the opportunity to repaint the front door, and installed a brass plaque to welcome visitors to Deaf Action, while stonework at the rear has also been restored and repointed.
The chimney between 49 and 51 Albany Street was rebuilt with new stone, as the original stonework was deteriorating and at risk of future collapse.
The entire roof has been stripped and re-slated, and the rooflights given new flashings. The original vents were able to be retained.
Considerable work has been done to restore the iconic Georgian windows on both sides of the building. At the rear, the windows have been overhauled and glass replaced where required, while at the front of the building, new sashes and astragals have been installed, in-keeping with the traditional design, something which is important given our location in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Edinburgh’s New Town.
We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery, Edinburgh World Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation who funded this essential work.
As the external work continues to take shape, we also plan to make improvements inside the building. The building on Albany Street has been home to the deaf community for over 130 years, and we want to ensure the space is preserved for future generations.
We recently received funding from Suez Community Trust to continue our internal repairs, and work will begin on this shortly.
Philip Gerrard, CEO of Deaf Action said, “We are extremely grateful for the kind donation from Suez Communities Trust. Our building holds great significance for the deaf community and its heritage, and this funding will enable us to continue in our commitment to bringing it back to its best.”
As part of the ongoing works, we will be refreshing the décor in our public and social spaces. The Blackwood Bar and café remains open, and we welcome everyone to come along and make use of this fantastic space.