Portobello Central SCIO is the community charity bringing Portobello Town Hall back to life, for everyone to use and enjoy. That’s what it was built for in 1914 and that’s its future. It has had a difficult few years but now the City of Edinburgh Council has accepted our proposal to take it into community management on a 25-year lease.

It is a venue for all the events of life: weddings and parties, music and dance, sports and competitions, markets and sales. It is a large hall with a stage, a good-sized meeting room upstairs and can seat several hundred people. Local groups and businesses are keen to have the Town Hall back. Already people are making booking enquiries for dates right into 2024.

The Town Hall is right in the heart of Portobello and just minutes from the beach. It is easy to get to – the buses stop right outside – so it serves Edinburgh and beyond as well as the immediate community. Recognising our commitment to reopening, the Council allocated £350,000 of Scottish Government funds to make the building wind and watertight. The scaffolding that enabled that work is down now, the windows are painted and all has been made safe, so we can move on to open the doors of our Town Hall. Portobello Central has strong public membership to which it is accountable.

Hundreds of volunteer hours have been invested and we are confident that our Town Hall will wash its face financially. Every booking is a step forward, but we’re not quite there yet – we need “lift-off” cash help as there’s a whole range of things we have to pay for before we open doors. It is your place, your family’s place, your friend’s place – put your name on it with a donation. We need £25,000 to open the doors and a bit more to be sure.

What’s it for?

How Do I Donate?

Let Jennifer Elliot explain:

Thank you!

Town Hall Life

What has the Town Hall ever done for us?

Dance! Dance! Dance!

Portobello Town Hall Northern Soul Alldayer, we would love to get this venue back again..

If Carlsberg done northern soul alldayer they would ask Stebo  where’s this Portobello Town Hall

I know it would sell out in days . One of our events sold out in just over 9 days. Even after nearly a year since our last event at town hall we are still getting asked when next one is on and people trying to order tickets.

I still don’t understand why we cant have events there its not just a venue its a part of our life and soul I saw my first live/local band there in the 70s the valves playing ain’t no surf KTF all

The best of times!


From Facebook

What Dancers Say

“I performed my first dance show in the Town Hall when I was 7 years old and continued participating in shows here until I was 17. Our local primary school, Tower bank, also put on shows here. These events contributed hugely to my childhood and teen years – I loved performing on stage and it helped me to build a lot of confidence. In later years I look back and recognise the sense of community it helped to establish and the feeling of belonging somewhere that it brought. Performing on stage and celebrating your talents with your their peers helps children to feel integrated in the community and feel involved in something meaningful that is outwith their usual school activities. I have also been to many ceilidhs, parties, weddings, political meetings, and charity events in the town hall over the years – what an amazing venue to hold all of these. We need to focus on what binds us together and what we have in common and how we cab celebrate that – Portobello Town Hall is an ideal hub for this. To lose this treasured building would be devastating for us and for future generations.”

Megan Edwards, aged 30 (Former pupil & Mum of current pupil)

“I think it is a fabulous community resource and a real asset to Portobello. It has been a fantastic venue for the dance shows”.

Morag (parent)

“Me and my sister really enjoy the town hall because of all the fun memories we have had there it would be very sad to loose all those opportunities for new memories x”

Freya age 13 & Georgia age 7

 ‘We grew up dancing in the town hall and it is a key part of the LDA experience as its such an exciting venue to perform in especially for the younger girls. It is extra special for us older girls as we have done all our shows there and it would be a shame to see it go.

It is also a central part of the wider Portobello community, being used for a variety of clubs, exercise classes, performances and even weddings.”

Meghan  21 (former pupil) & Grace 18 (current pupil)

“I like the Town Hall because it has a grate big stage and I like the red curtains”

Eva age 6yrs

“The town hall is where I used to go after school club. I like the big roof  as you can kick the ball really high.  Sometimes  the ball got stuck up on that  place where you can sit to watch a show.

Molly age 6yrs.

“For me Portobello town hall was when I first danced on stage. Giving me confidence when I was really young.  I always imagined my dance career with LDA ending after performing at the town hall when I’m 17/18, in front of my friends and family and all the younger girls.”

Abbey age 11yrs

“The town hall is really special to me and especially to Lothian dance academy. Every 2 years we would do our big dance show and it is so handy to have it right beside our dance class. It is also such a beautiful building and it would be a  shame to not have it.”

“Performing  shows at or local Town Hall has given  Chelsea the opportunity to mix with the different age groups – allowing her to be a help and to be helped by the older girls who are amazing role models. The environment is always positive , encouraging and safe.  Overall a real positive -with good memories not just for her but also all the family who get to watch.” 

Chelsea’s Mum


We got wed!

Great venue for making memories

One of our family weddings was in Porty Town Hall last year, married in Bellfield, it was a fantastic Porty wedding and what a brilliant place to hold the reception. Wonderful!

Here’s husband and me dancing in PTH, not bad for 80!!

Love Porty Town Hall, happy memories. would be so sad to let it go.

I used to go to the town hall dancing on a Saturday night it was great

From Facebook

Fancy seeing you here!

Fancy seeing you here!


Could the town hall be used as a fringe venue? With so many performers looking for space – it could be full through August I’m sure?

If we got the Town Hall and Bellfield and PJPC all operating as Fringe venues, it would make a real out of town hub!

It was at one time I saw a Sondheim musical there in the early 1970s. I think attendance was low because it wasn’t in the city centre and I don’t think it was used again by the Fringe.

Would be great to keep this fantastic building.

From Facebook

Isaac Stern playing in PTH in Edinburgh Festival

About Portobello Central

What is Portobello Central?

We are the charitable body that the City of Edinburgh Council agreed, in November 2022 should take over management of Portobello Town Hall. The Council allocated £350,000 from the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Fund for essential repairs and refurbishment and this work will be completed in early 2023. Work is in hand to agree a 25 year, full repairing, lease from April 2023.

The transition to a community-based charitable body radically changes the financial basis on which the building will be run and offers the possibility of more flexible management. This will include an easily accessible and responsive booking process and close engagement with other venues in Portobello. The vision is that the Town Hall should return to being a key player in the life of Portobello and the surrounding area.

In the longer term Portobello Central hopes to carry through significant improvements to the building, starting with a focus on access and facilities of good standard. For now the building will continue in its present configuration as we focus on creating a business with wide appeal.

The formal SCIO documents are here.

The Business Plan

How can you get involved?

Portobello Central is already looking for help in many ways. A real need is to have Members – a role similar to shareholder in a company but without any financial input. You can become a Member by applying here.

But if hands on action or setting up an event is more your idea of help let us know on:


The Business Plan

As the repairs continue through the autumn of 2022, the Trustees have set out a first look at how the business will run. It is early days – but the likely shape is emerging.