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21, 23 Boswall Road, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9798 / 55°58'47"N

Longitude: -3.211 / 3°12'39"W

OS Eastings: 324533

OS Northings: 676972

OS Grid: NT245769

Mapcode National: GBR 8K3.2X

Mapcode Global: WH6SD.NY5Q

Plus Code: 9C7RXQHQ+WJ

Entry Name: 21, 23 Boswall Road, Edinburgh

Listing Name: 21 and 23 Boswall Road, Forthview House, with Boundary Walls, Railings, Gates and Gateposts

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 366110

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB28339

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Forth

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Circa 1830. Fine, austere 2-storey 3-bay classical villa with Greek Doric portico and lower (2-storey) single bay W wing; linking pavilions to W and E; subdivided, but substantially unaltered externally. Lightly droved ashlar sandstone, squared and coursed sandstone with droved ashlar dressings to sides and rear. Base and blocking courses, eaves cornice. Viewing platform to rear.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: stone porch set in left bay of main block, with fluted Greek Doric columns, entablature and blocking course; timber panelled door with plate glass fanlight in segmental- headed opening. Regular fenestration; windows in lower floor of main block segmental-headed, with droved ashlar panelled aprons; those in W wing set in recessed panel.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: asymmetrically arranged. Piend-roofed 2-storey and basement canted bay with decorative wrought-iron balcony at 2nd floor level to centre; modern French doors to steps from 1st floor to garden. Flanked to W by taller 2-stage tower; French door at 1st stage, arch-headed window at 2nd stage; balustraded parapet to viewing platform at N. Single windows to ground and 1st floor in arch-headed recessed panel in lower bay to W. 2-storey pavilion adjoining on lower ground to E.

Regular fenestration, plate glass in timber sash and case windows, except 7-pane arched window in 2nd storey of tower feature (rear elevation). Grey slate; piended roof to canted bay. Squat coped wallhead stacks, circular cans.

BOUNDARY WALLS, RAILINGS, GATES AND GATEPOSTS: low ashlar wall to front with base course, ashlar coping. Later decorative wrought-iron railings, designed 1913 (see Notes), gates and paired cast iron gateposts. High rubble wall with arched coping to N.

Statement of Interest

B Group comprises Manor House (17 Boswall Road), Boswall House (19 Boswall Road) and Forthview House (21 and 23 Boswall Road - formerly Wardiebank House), forming together a quasi-Baroque composition, spectacularly sited on the edge of the raised beach overlooking the Forth. Battered retaining wall with balustraded parapet runs along the edge of the slope to the N of all 3 properties. The linking flat-roofed pavilions (whose fenestration has suffered several alterations) may have been built later, as the 1828 PO Directory map shows the villas as 3 separate blocks. However, the linking pavilions are clearly present on Johnstone's very accurate map of 1851, and the PO maps continue to show 3 separate blocks util 1860.

An entry in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of August 15th 1836 may give a clue to the architect of these villas. Captain JD Boswall advertises that his lands 'of Windstrawlee and Wardie...are to be fued for every description of Villa, double or single Houses, shops and such other buildings as the increasing trade and intercourse by steam navigation may require, on the establishment of the great steam packet landing place (at Granton).... Lithographic plans are in preparation,' by Dicksons Architects, 9 Blenheim Place. Although this date is too late for the Wardie villas, stylistic resemblances with Dicksons' Gardner's Crescent and Leith Town Hall can be discerned.

The ornamental railings extending along the frontage of Manor House, Boswall House and Forthview House came originally from the RMS Aquitania, built by John Brown and Co Ltd for the Cunard Steamship Company in 1913. Illustrations in THE SHIPBUILDER, June, 1913, show the ironwork in the lounge, restaurant and staircase, and the present garden gates as elevator gates. Sir JD Pollock, who owned Manor, Boswall and Forthview Houses from c1920 until his death in 1962, was the owner of a ship-breaking company which became Metal Industries Ltd. The Aquitania was not retired until 1949, but she was requisitioned in both World Wars, so it is possible that the ornamental ironwork was removed at an earlier date. Pollock (also donor of Pollock Halls and other University properties), lived in Manor House, while Boswall and Forthview Houses were used as the Pollock Missionary Residencies.

Manor House, Boswall House and Forthview House were developed in 1965 by Broadland Properties (architects Walter Duns of Duns, Berwickshire), their intention being to convert the houses into 12 flats (Scotsman 30.6.65), with the addition of garages and mews flats to the E. Not all the subdivision was carried out, and Manor House has since returned to single ownership.

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