The Usher Hall
The Site which has been authoritatively declared to be on all grounds practical and aesthetic, the best that can be got, at enormous expense... would have brought the Hall building within a few feet of the Castle Rock. The distinctive charm of Edinburgh lies not in artificial embellishments but in unique natural characteristics, touched by history and romance, and nothing but absolute necessity should induce the citizens to permit any building, however beautiful in itself, to be placed so near as to mar these characteristics... immediate action should be taken to call to the attention of Mr Usher, and of the Site Committee of the Town Council to the disastrous affect such a building, on the particular site referred to, would have on the grandeur of the Castle, on the amenity of the whole open space surrounding the Castle Rock, and on the unrivalled beauty of the prospect from Princes Street and other points - already so grievously marred by other existing architectural intrusions. This site seems to be looked upon with approval by some of those in authority, and the Association may congratulate itself on having assisted in preventing the perpetration of so grievous and irremediable a mistake.
The Cockburn Association, 1896
As the vexed question of the site for the Usher Hall has at last been settled by the purchase of the Synod Hall in Castle Terrace, it would serve no purpose now to discuss whether the site is the best that might have been chosen. There is no doubt that, as regards accessibility and the opportunity afforded for the display of architectural effect, the position is excellent. It is hoped that the designs for the Hall be thrown open to competition, so that there may be every chance of a fine building erected that may help to redeem the architectural mediocrity which at present characterises that part of the city.
The Cockburn Association, 1898
Plans have now been prepared and estimates obtained for the removal of the Synod Hall and the erection of the new Usher Hall upon the site.
The Cockburn Association 1903