George IV Bridge Fire: Repairs underway on fire-stricken building in Edinburgh’s Old Town which damaged ‘Harry Potter’ cafe

Repair work is underway on the historic six-storey building in Edinburgh’s Old Town where a huge fire caused damage to several businesses – including the cafe where JK Rowling wrote part of the Harry Potter series.

As reported in the Evening News, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) were called to a blaze affecting several properties at George IV Bridge at 6.18am last Tuesday (August 24).

A firefighter was taken to hospital for precautionary checks but released later the same morning, while one other person was treated at the scene.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Images from the scene showed smoke pouring from a branch of Patisserie Valerie, next door to the Elephant House cafe, which was made famous as the place where Rowling created some of her stories.

Images from the area early last Tuesday showed smoke pouring from a branch of Patisserie Valerie, next door to the Elephant House cafe.

George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row remain closed to traffic, while a pavement on the other side of George IV Bridge reopened to pedestrians.

Now, work to shore up the fire-hit building has started in The Oz Bar in Candlemaker Row, as well as Merchants Restaurant and Bar in nearby Merchant Street.

Read More
The historical value of the area affected by George IV Bridge fire is incalculab...

Elephant House owner David Taylor told BBC Scotland he was still unable to get inside his cafe.

Mr Taylor said: “They are shoring up each level from the bottom up. There are two floors below my cafe.

“So we haven't been able to start the salvage process yet or get loss adjusters in from our insurers as it's not safe to enter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I'm hoping to get in by the end of the week.”

Mr Taylor previously spoke of his devastation at the damage caused by the blaze.

He said: “I think it will take months to rebuild. Everyone has suffered over the last two years and we had been having a half decent festival, even although we were running at 50%, so to have suffered this fire is terrible.”

Oz Bar owner Tom Ponton said underpinning was needed before any work could begin.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He told BBC Scotland: “We will need a new ceiling and a new floor.

“We will be aiming to reopen again before Christmas. It's very upsetting.”

A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said ceilings were being propped up so that premises in the building were safe for workmen to go into.

Flats above the shops were also evacuated firefighters tackled the blaze and remain empty.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.