McEwan Hall

The McEwan Hall is the graduation hall of the University of Edinburgh. It was built in the 1890s with funds gifted to the University by William McEwan, a local brewer and politician and completed in 1897.  The estimated cost was approximately £115,000 and the architect was Sir Robert Rowland Anderson.

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

When Dr A.L.Peace gave the opening recital on the new organ in 1897 he included only one original organ piece, and that was a composition of his own.  Otherwise, he played transcriptions of Mozart, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Handel - including the Overture from the "Occasional Oratorio".

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).

Organ recitals in the McEwan Hall were not possible between November 2014 and October 2018 during the refurbishment of the building and were limited in the Reid Concert Hall also as a result of the work taking place in the McEwan Hall, relating to noise and access.

Keyboard instruments used in University recitals

Specifications of Instruments from the Musical Instruments Museums at the University of Edinburgh (MIMEd) and organs used in concerts at this venue.