Supported by NEWHAVEN HERITAGE CENTRE which is recognised as a Scottish registered charity No. SC044837



Contact Us

About Us

Website supported by


 Newhaven Community Project

Who we are and why is there a need for this project

Newhaven, once a distinct community with a proud fishing heritage has struggled in recent years to retain its identity. Many of the original buildings were demolished in the 1950s and 60s and replaced by modern housing with improved facilities. Reclamation of land has pushed back the sea and development on Western Harbour continues to add thousands of new dwellings. The current Victoria Primary School, which cannot meet the rising role, is to be replaced in 2020 with a new school on Western Harbour. The present building — the oldest operational primary school in the City of Edinburgh being founded in 1844, and much loved by the local community — would then be up for sale. Newhaven Heritage, a Scottish Registered charity is taking the lead on the development of plans by the community to acquire and develop it as a heritage and community centre. There is growing concern that it is critical to the future sense of place and a cohesive community that local heritage and traditions are not lost but celebrated, widely shared, respected and built upon by new generations.

The proposed Project Area

Victoria Primary School is at the junction of two Community Council areas and two Neighbourhood Partnership Areas. Whilst the focus must be to meet the needs of those in the very immediate area, the building could be a significant resource to the wider area which can support sustainability in the long term. The proposed project area is therefore based on the area covered by Newhaven and Leith Harbour Community Council and Trinity Community Council.

The proposed Project

o Develop the school as a Heritage Centre and Community Hub

o Deliver from the Hub, sustainable services and activities to meet the evidenced socio- economic needs of the populations of the project area

The Process

The advice from the Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) and the Scottish Land Fund is that Newhaven Heritage should develop and deliver projects that engage with the proposed project community which will pave the way towards setting up a Development Trust Association (DTA) in 2018.

Development Trusts are:

o Engaged in the economic, environmental and social regeneration of a defined area or community;

o Independent and aiming for self-sufficiency;  

o Not-for-private profit;

o Community-led and owned;

o Actively involved in partnerships between the community, voluntary, private and public sectors.

Becoming a DTA will enable us to apply for funding from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the school.

Our current activities

Newhaven Heritage Garden

A community garden on Main Street, tubs of flowers, greening and brightening of untended land and raised beds of fruit and vegetable beds at the school

Newhaven Community Choir

Fishwife choirs were an important part of the cultural life of the Newhaven fishing community. Inspired by this tradition, the Newhaven Community Choir continues to connect people and place through the joy of song.

The Handling box project

Funded by Heritage Lottery the projects will bring older and younger members of the local community together to explore, share and record memories and stories about the heritage of Newhaven. Resources on Fishwives and fishing; Victoria Primary school and its role in Newhaven; Newhaven and wartime will be created. They will be used by the school for years to come and loaned freely to other schools. Volunteers will be trained how to use them, coming into school and going to community groups to bring stories to life. The displays in the Wee Museum will be refreshed to complement these themes.

The school log books and registers

In partnership with City Archives we are looking at records going back over 100 years to see how they can best be shared with the local community.

Potential activities and services

o Heritage centre including interactive displays of local heritage plus Victorian Schoolroom in partnership with Heritage Education Centre;

o Lifelong learning opportunities;

o Artist studios;

o Co-working spaces;

o Community cafe;

o Meeting space for local organisations.