Melville Housing Association has welcomed the first customers to its new office at the renovated and restored Dalkeith Corn Exchange.
The new office at 200 High Street has improved facilities, particularly for customers with disabilities, better meeting rooms, and is easier to access by car. Restoration of the Grade A listed building was made possible thanks to grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland in addition to Melville’s contribution.
“It’s given us all great pleasure to welcome customers to our new home,” said Melville chief executive Andrew Noble. “We have worked hard to make sure that our new facilities are much better for everyone visiting the office and we’ll be improving things further as we fully settle in. Tenants are, of course, our lifeblood and they, and the services we provide, will always remain
our number one priority.”
The reception area of Melville’s new office is open to the public during office hours and will shortly have a permanent exhibition of the history of the Corn Exchange as part of the Dalkeith Heritage Trail. The boardroom will also be available for community meetings and events.
When complete the Corn Exchange will play host to a new permanent museum for Dalkeith, managed by the Dalkeith History Society. The museum, which is expected to open later this spring, will have its own St Andrew Street entrance and be fully accessible to the public.
The Corn Exchange dates back to 1854, and at the time was the largest indoor grain market in Scotland. Over its 160-year history it has played a key role in the social history of Midlothian as a venue for balls, banquets, lectures, concerts, exhibitions and political meetings hosting several British prime ministers including William Gladstone and Winston Churchill. It has also been used as a roller-skating venue, cinema, theatre and, in the 1940s and 1950s, the Empress Ballroom, a popular dance hall.