The Drill Hall

Since 2004 out of the blue’s headquarters has been the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, a building of considerable historical and cultural significance to the Leith community. Careful, sustainable restoration and regeneration has transformed this former military building into a participatory and inclusive arts and cultural centre, with artists’ studios, rehearsal and performance arenas, exhibition spaces and a well-reviewed café. The Out of the Blue Drill Hall is a vibrant, fun, and inclusive place, where people can experience all kinds of innovative contemporary arts, enjoy the creative atmosphere, meet, discuss, eat, relax, learn.

Out of the Blue has transformed the Drill Hall into a centre for participatory arts for the benefit of the local and artistic communities using best practice with regard to environmental sustainable materials and processes.

The design work has been acclaimed for its quality of design, build standard and environmental sustainability.

The studio and workshop spaces are heavily insulated and an array of solar tubes have been installed to provide the Drill Hall’s hot water.

History of the Drill Hall

The Drill Hall was built in 1901 for the Royal Scots Regiment, designed by the renowned architect Sir Rowand Anderson, who also designed the National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street and the McEwan Hall at Edinburgh University. The building was used for many years as a barracks, training centre and, latterly, a garage for military vehicles until Out Of The Blue purchased it from the Territorial Army in 2003.

The Drill Hall is a A-listed building because of this architectural heritage, but also its historical significance in the local area. In 1915 the Gretna disaster, the worst crash in the history of British rail travel, killed 227 people and injured 246 others. 102 of those killed were young men from the 7th (Leith) Battalion of the Royal Scots, on their way to Liverpool, where they were to leave for Gallipoli. The bodies of the victims were laid out in the Drill Hall prior to burial in Rosebank Cemetery, across Leith Walk in Pilrig. The Drill Hall still stands today as a memorial to one of the greatest tragedies to affect the community of Leith.

Further reading


Back to Top ↑
  • Connect

    follow us on facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Videos on Youtube Click here to use our contact form
  • How to get here


    Click/tap here to see buses that pass the Drill Hall, directions and building accessibility.

    Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny St, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG

  • Covid-19 restrictions

    From 2nd April The Scottish Government has lifted the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replaced it with a ‘Stay Local’ message. From 26th April there is easing of restrictions in relation to education, hospitality, galleries, retail, services- but indoor numbers are restricted.

    Out of the Blue are consequently re-opening for appropriately social distanced conviviality and activity from Monday 26th April.

    As things stand, from 17th May more events will be allowed, with currently unspecified capacity constraints. We will bring back our events, classes, workshops, and exhibitions when safe to do so.

    Latest news from Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

  • Cafe Opening Hours

    Monday – Friday 10.00 – 16.00 (from 26th April)

  • Donate

    Over the course of 2021 Out of the Blue will continue to offer opportunities for artists and members of the community to learn, participate and earn income.

    We use the space we have developed in 6 buildings in Edinburgh for studios, workshops, classes, projects, exhibitions, social enterprises, events, clubs, music making, markets, a cafe and more.

    Our all year round activity helps create the culture of the city, supporting the local economy and having positive social impact for the thousands of individuals and organisations we work with.

    We would humbly accept a financial donation, however small, in support of our work.




  • Subscribe to our mailing list


    Data protection
    By submitting this information, you are confirming that Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust may store your data and may contact you using the submitted information in accordance with our privacy policy (located in our legal information document at outoftheblue.org.uk/about).



  • Association

    Learn more about the Green Arts Project OSCR charity number SC022812