Pub salvage hope hit by a brick as rubble sold

WHEN the Caledonian Ale House was earmarked for demolition to make way for the Capital's new tram line, the famous pub was promised a new lease of life.

The idea was to dismantle the Victorian bar stone by stone and rebuild its well-known frontage 20 miles away in Fife, but the plans to preserve the Haymarket landmark turned to dust when the 146-year-old pub was pulled down.

The rare Craigleith stones which had been wanted by a building heritage charity have instead been sold off as rubble.

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The Ale House, which was known as the Haymarket Station Bar until 1995, closed in March with the loss of 12 jobs.

Tram firm TIE had initially said the stones would be donated to The Scottish Lime Centre Trust, in Fife, a charity which gives advice and training for the conservation and repair of historic buildings, such as St Giles' Cathedral.

The charity had wanted to rebuild the pub's facade brick-by-brick at its headquarters in Charlestown, near Dunfermline.

But now the stonework specialist who stepped in to save it all being turned into rubble said only a fraction had been salvageable.

Roz Artis-Young, the Scottish Lime Centre Trust's executive director, said: "I had seen reports that the building was coming down and had asked if we could recover the stones.

"The company carrying out the demolition had already agreed a contract with TIE and things were too far down the road," said Ms Artis-Young. "We wanted the stones, but we're a charity and couldn't afford to pay for them."

After the building was razed in June, the rubble was sold by the demolition firm to a private firm, Broxburn-based Brick and Stone. The company's Mark Findlay said: "I was told that they would dismantle it carefully, but the council said they didn't have the time, and within a few hours it was gone.

"Then they said they were sending it to a scrap yard, where I knew it would be wasted, so I insisted I would take the lot. Now I have 560 tonnes, most of which is completely useless, but the brick that did survive will be recycled back into the building trade."

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A spokeswoman for TIE said: "The stones taken from the Caledonian Ale House demolition were identified as being of interest to the Scottish Lime Centre Trust. As a result of this interest the stones have been taken into storage by our demolition contractors, from where they will be reused where possible."

The Ale House, built in 1862, had been popular with rugby and football fans before it was compulsory purchased by TIE.

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