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Janitor's House, Milton House School, 88 Canongate, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9518 / 55°57'6"N

Longitude: -3.1767 / 3°10'36"W

OS Eastings: 326616

OS Northings: 673821

OS Grid: NT266738

Mapcode National: GBR 8SF.0Y

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.5NJN

Plus Code: 9C7RXR2F+P8

Entry Name: Janitor's House, Milton House School, 88 Canongate, Edinburgh

Listing Name: 86 Canongate, Canongate Primary School Including Janitor's House, Gates, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 13 August 1987

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 366339

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB28442

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200366339

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Caretaker's house Caretaker's house

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Robert Wilson, dated 1886. Imposing, 2-storey and basement, 11-bay symmetrical former Board School with Scots-Baronial detailing including prominent crowstepped gables and tall bellcote to centre. Situated on ground sloping to S. Squared and snecked ashlar with polished red sandstone dressings. Base course, cill courses and moulded string course returning to side elevations and rear. Projecting gabled section to centre; panel between string and cill course inscribed 'MILTON HOUSE PUBLIC SCHOOL'; stone-mullioned windows at each floor, transoms at 1st floor; above, elaborate pedimented head with date and roundel to centre depicting St Margaret of Scotland. Bellcote at apex. Flanking bays with crowstepped gablets breaking eaves. Slightly lower recessed piended outer bays to E and W elevations; segmental-arched doors in flanks. Tall ranges extend southwards with basement to slope. Rear elevation: advanced tall 3-bay gable to centre with hoodmoulding to 2nd floor windows; three small attic windows above. Flanked by pedimented dormers.

INTERIOR: central stair hall contains four large landscape panels by William Delacour, 1758, surviving from John Adam's Milton House of 1755.

JANITORS HOUSE: 2-storey and basement (to S-facing slope), roughly square plan, crow-stepped janitor's house (also by Wilson) to SE. Contrasting red and grey ashlar. S elevation with shallow oriel in shallow advanced bay to left.

BOUNDARY WALLS, GATES AND GATEPIERS: stepped low boundary wall of squared and snecked rubble. Substantial retaining wall to sloping ground to S. Cast-iron railings.

Predominantly multi-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Graded, grey slate. Tall, corbelled and shouldered end stacks. Clay cans. Tall, octagonal-capped axial ventilators. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Interest

The former Milton House Public School, now known as Canongate Primary School, is a good and particularly large example of the Board School type with a strong vertical emphasis and well-detailed Scots-Baronial features. The building responds well to the challenges of the site and is a distinctive addition to the character of the Canongate streetscape. Designed by well-respected local architect Robert Wilson, who specialised in building schools throughout the Edinburgh area, Milton House School is of some quality. Its detailing, such as its crowstepped gables with tall chimneys, stone mullions and contrasting grey and red stonework, sets it apart. Edinburgh has a rich heritage of quality board schools which add much to the architectural character of the city. The school was built on the site of Milton House by John Adam, 1755-8 and retains four large landscape panels from the interior of that building.

The historic and architectural value of Edinburgh's Canongate area as a whole cannot be overstated. Embodying a spirit of permanence while constantly evolving, its buildings reflect nearly 1000 years of political, religious and civic development in Scotland. The Canons of Holyrood Abbey were given leave by King David I to found the burgh of Canongate in 1140. Either side of the street (a volcanic ridge) was divided into long, narrow strips of land or 'tofts'. By the end of the 15th century all the tofts were occupied, some subdivided into 'forelands' and 'backlands' under different ownership. Fuedal superiority over Canongate ceased after 1560. The following century was a period of wide-scale rebuilding and it was during this time that most of the areas' mansions and fine townhouses were constructed, usually towards the back of the tofts, away from the squalor of the main street. The 17th century also saw the amalgamation of the narrow plots and their redevelopment as courtyards surrounded by tenements. The burgh was formally incorporated into the City in 1856. Throughout the 19th Century the Canongate's prosperity declined as large sections of the nobility and middle classes moved out of the area in favour of the grandeur and improved facilities of Edinburgh's New Town, a short distance to the North. The Improvement Act of 1867 made efforts to address this, responding early on with large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment of entire street frontages. A further Improvement Act (1893) was in part a reaction to this 'maximum intervention', responding with a programme of relatively small-scale changes within the existing street pattern. This latter approach was more consistent with Patrick Geddes' concept of 'conservative surgery'. Geddes was a renowned intellectual who lived in the Old Town and was a pioneer of the modern conservation movement in Scotland which gathered momentum throughout the 20th century. Extensive rebuilding and infilling of sections of the Canongate's many tenements took place, most notably by city architects, E J McRae and Robert Hurd (mid 20th century) with some early frontages retained and others rebuilt in replica.

List description updated at resurvey (2008).

External Links

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