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Latitude: 55.9772 / 55°58'38"N
Longitude: -3.1738 / 3°10'25"W
OS Eastings: 326844
OS Northings: 676648
OS Grid: NT268766
Mapcode National: GBR 8S4.LT
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.61X3
Entry Name: 72-98 (Inclusive Nos) Commercial Street, (Incorporates Bond 42 and 63/1x2 and 64/1, 2, Gf and 1f), and 13-15 (Inclusive Nos) Dock Place with Gatepiers and Railings; Eh6 6nf, 6lx and 6jd
Listing Date: 9 January 1987
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 363671
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB26825
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Leith
Traditional County: Midlothian
John Rennie and John Patterson, 1800-1806; centre stack completed for Carron Company by Thomas Brown, 1820; 7 W bays (Bond 42) with later stone attic; sundry subsequent additions and alterations; facade to Dock Place (and presumably alterations to 3 E bays) by Archibald Thomson, 1882.
Unusually long, 35-bay 4-storey and attic warehouse; offices at far E end. Squared and coursed rubble, ashlar dressings and band courses between floors; irregular ashlar facing to N at ground; segmental-arched openings, mostly iron-barred, some blocked, some with louvred timber doors. Brick groin-vaulted basement to Bond 42, and to ground floor of rest of block. Low parapets conceal roofs; later stone attic storey to Bond 42. N elevation to docks similarly detailed.
13-15 DOCK PLACE ELEVATIONS: symmetrical 3-storey and attic 5-bay rendered gable end, framed by rusticated pilasters on panelled pedestals; heavily panelled 2-leaf door with rectangular fanlight at centre at ground; moulded architraves to ground and 1st floors; lintel course at ground, cill course to 2nd floor, band course at cornice level. Attic windows in raised wallhead, stepping up at centre to incorporate 3 blind panels; centre window blind; oval plaques flank outer bays with initials WR and BT; moulded cornice. 3 flag poles at centre of attic.
3-storey 3-bay stone-cleaned returns; ground and 1st floor created out of 1st 3 storeys of warehouse; string courses and top floor fenestration retained. Architraves to lower floors, bipartite window to ground to W. Pairs of modern gableheaded dormers. To N pair of panelled doors at centre and extra fenestration. Timber sash and case windows.
WAREHOUSES: 32 bays arranged from E in block of 7, 5, 7, 6 and 7 bays, with wallheads between; gabled dormer openings and crane hoists to each block. E block converted to offices at ground. 2nd block built for the Carron Company, with closer spaced bays and pedimented hoists; tripartite doorway survives to Commercial Street; painted legend CARRON COMPANY LTD WAREHOUSE still discernible to docks. Centre block with 2 piend-roofed dormers. W block with raised attic and applied iron lettering: MACDONALD & MUIR BONDED STORES and, in italics, 'HIGHLAND QUEEN'.
5-bay W (end) elevation with 3 windows to attic.
Ashlar coped skews. Grey slates.
INTERIORS: brick groin-vaults at ground supported on stone piers; flanked by access barrel-vaults. Combination of timber post and beam ashlar and cast-iron supports for upper floors. Bond 42 and Carron Warehouse with some ashlar piers and saddles rising full height of building; Carron warehouse with cast-iron Doric columns.
GATEPIERS: giant chamfered square ashlar piers at E approach, flanking entrance to Dock Place, with cornice and ball finials. Paired with those at former lock to N.
A Group with West Warehouses (see separate listing). The East dock was built from 1800-06 and the W dock from 1810-1817, to the designs of John Rennie. The warehouses are of national importance as the only dockside development comparable to Rennie's London Docks 1802-5 (demolished in the 1970's), and with the West India Docks of 1802-3 are the oldest surviving regular range of multi-storey harbour warehouses in Britain. The next regular multi-storey dock warhehouses outside London were Albert Dock, Liverpool, in the 1840's, and in Scotland the quite different James Watt Dock, Greenock of 1886.
London Dock warehouses were also 4-storey timber-framed with vaults beneath the quays for wines and spirits, groined at the centres and barrel-vaulted for strength at the ends. The vaults were on similar stone piers that differ slightly in the degree of chamfering at the capitals. The exteriors were brick with band and blocking courses concealing the roofs. Hoists were at 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th bays of each block. The external regularity of the Leith warehouses being compromised by delays in completion and by infilling of the gaps in slightly different styles.
The Carron warehouse may be the oldest use of cast-iron in a warehouse in Scotland (though already being employed in textile mills). It is also the oldest surviving building appertaining to Scotland's most important company of the industrial revolution period.
14 Dock Place was redesigned in 1882 to house the Leith Navigation School, which stayed at this site until moving to its purpose built premises on Commercial Street (see separate listing).
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