Edinburgh Printmakers has received an award of almost £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Enterprise Fund (HLF) to create a specialist arts centre in the Fountainbridge area of the city.

Castle Mills, a 2,000m2 site which dates back to 1856, is the former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company – manufacturers of items such as car tyres, hot water bottles and, most famously, Wellington boots – and seen to be of significant industrial heritage value. The project will conserve and restore the vast ‘at risk’ building and enable a major expansion of Edinburgh Printmakers’ studio, printmaking and gallery spaces.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “Castle Mills was once at the heart of a thriving community but now stands empty and neglected … once again [it can] be a centre for new ideas and productivity and a catalyst in the regeneration of Fountainbridge.”

As well as new facilities for textile and 3D printing to complement their established provision in lithography, etching, screenprinting and relief printing specialisms, Edinburgh Printmakers’ new home will boast artists studios, office accommodation for local creative enterprises and a purpose-built education centre. Two new gallery spaces, a cafe bar and retail area will aim to attract thousands of visitors a year.

“The successful application is great news for the Edinburgh Printmakers and for artist-led projects in Edinburgh,” Cllr Richard Lewis, Culture & Sport Convener at The City of Edinburgh Council said. “This funding will develop Edinburgh Printmakers into the engaging visitor attraction it deserves to be.”

The HLF award boosts a £1.7 million award already earmarked for the project from Creative Scotland, and a period of fundraising for the remaining project funds will now be set in train. Edinburgh Printmakers aim to launch the new centre in 2017 – their 50th anniversary year.