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5 Dell Road, St Cuthbert's Manse

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9092 / 55°54'33"N

Longitude: -3.2555 / 3°15'19"W

OS Eastings: 321610

OS Northings: 669170

OS Grid: NT216691

Mapcode National: GBR 88Y.16

Mapcode Global: WH6SR.YQXS

Entry Name: 5 Dell Road, St Cuthbert's Manse

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 366972

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB28652

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Colinton/Fairmilehead

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Colinton

Description

Robert Weir (mason) and Thomas Jack (wright), 1784; additions, Alexander Trotter, executed by Archibald Elliot II, 1823; John Chesser, 1861; Peddie, Dick and Washington Browne, 1903. 2-storey square-plan, piend-roofed manse with additional outshots to NE and 1861 2-storey canted bay window to principal elevation. Harled with ashlar dressings. Basecourse; intermittent eaves course. Strip quoins, raised window margins, those to SW moulded.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: remodelled 1861. Central timber panelled front door with plate glass fanlight in stop-chamfered architrave frame with consoled cornice; window above; window flanking to right at ground with wall-head stack above; 2-storey canted bay to left with bandcourse and cill course to 1st floor.

SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: probably 1823. 3 bays, regularly fenestrated with segmental-arched windows to upper floor.

NW (GARDEN) ELEVATION: irregularly fenestrated with modern glazed door.

NE (SIDE) ELEVATION: stepped composition with irregular fenestration. Advanced 1903 bay to outer right with mullioned window at ground and canted oriel at 1st floor; timber boarded back door to left return.

Statement of Interest

A fair sized manse, which has had numerous additions and alterations. The 1805 plan by James Knox shows that the original building was square with and outshot to the SE, the bay window and front door architrave almost certainly date from 1861, and the SW elevation was probably the addition made in 1821. It was originally built for Rev Dr Walker, who in the Statistical Account complained that despite being built at a "sufficiently liberal" expence, the workmanship was very poor and necessitated frequent repairs. However, in the New Statistical Account Rev Dr Balfour states that, having been repaired and extended twice, "it now forms a very comfortable dwelling". The Minute Books of the Heritors' meetings seem to confirm Dr Walker?s view: again and again the Heritors found the building to be in a very poor condition (usually with a leaking roof). This was probably because the Heritors would repair the Manse when a new minister complained about its poor state, but would always impose the condition that he must be responsible for its subsequent upkeep. Presumably the Colinton Living was not sufficient to pay for periodic building repairs. In 1874 the manse was nearly abandoned altogether following a damning report on its unhealthy situation. Nowadays Colinton Dell is a picture of rural tranquility. However, in the nineteenth century it was a busy centre of industry with numerous mills along the banks of the Water of Leith. The manse was flanked on one side by a meal mill, which filled the manse garden with dust, and on the other side by a pasteboard mill which emitted a constant discharge of "steam, smoke and effluvia". In addition to these nuisances, the Water of Leith was dreadfully polluted, and the churchyard (which is uphill of the manse) was thought to be contaminating the manse drains.

Robert Louis Stevenson was the grandson of Dr Balfour, and frequently stayed in the manse when he was young.

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