Councillors in Edinburgh have approved the sale of Panmure House – the former home of the great Scottish economist Adam Smith – to Heriot-Watt University. They chose the £800,000 bid over a higher offer, on the grounds that the University would make the building more accessible to the public. The University plans to restore the house to promote the study of economics.
The sale has to be scrutinized by the Scottish Government in nearby Holyrood, but the Heriot-Watt bid is probably the best possible outcome for admirers of Smith. The house will – once again – become an international centre for scholarly work on economics, and members of the public will be able to visit the house where Smith spent the last decade of his life.
The sale coincides with the unveiling of the Adam Smith Institute's statue of Adam Smith not far away, in Edinburgh's Royal Mile, which will take place on the morning of Friday 4 July.