The McEwan Hall is the graduation hall of the University of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, It is the perfect place to put on an unforgettable event.  Its dramatic interior and grand organ has been a spectacular back drop for all manner of film and TV projects and now there are further opportunities with the brand new basement venues.

Seating up to 1,700 delegates in its tiered auditorium, the McEwan Hall is Edinburgh First’s largest conference venue. Our other venues nearby – including Appleton Tower and David Hume Tower (DHT), located less than five minutes’ walk away – can increase delegate numbers further by utilising their lecture theatres, breakout and catering spaces.

McEwan Hall boasts a Main Hall and full basement access, where there are six seminar rooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and accessible facilities.

  • The McEwan Hall is a category A listed building.
  • Restored interior dome of the McEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh (2017).
  • Bristo Square with McEwan Hall entrance pavilion (Oct 2017)

McEwan graduation hall during latter stages of refurbishment of Bristo Square, University of Edinburgh. The design was begun in 1876 and was largely undertaken by George Mackie Watson whilst working in the offices of Robert Rowand Anderson (with the master plan being by Rowand Anderson himself). It was built using stone from Prudham Quarry, Hexham in Northumberland.

The exterior of the D-shaped hall was completed in 1894. The interior, finished in 1897, is built in Italian Renaissance style, and features mural decorations from the hand of William Mainwaring Palin. The central piece of art is a large painted work known as “The Temple of Fame” depicting a great number of philosophers and students. The McEwan Hall organ was built in 1897 by Robert Hope-Jones, and has been rebuilt and modified on various occasions afterwards.

Another striking feature of the McEwan Hall is its large dome. On the inside of the dome is a biblical inscription: Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she shall bring thee to honour. (Proverbs 4:7).

In 2015 the hall and Bristo Square closed for refurbishment and reopened in time for the July 2017 graduations at a projected cost of £35 million. New heating, ventilation and lighting was integrated with the original interior and new seminar rooms created in the basement and below Bristo Square. One of the project’s key aims was to provide easy access to all areas, including the second floor gallery. The McEwan Hall is used for graduations, lectures and public talks, some Edinburgh Festival Fringe events and organ recitals.

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