History in Structure

19 Gayfield Square, 18A, 18, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9597 / 55°57'34"N

Longitude: -3.1856 / 3°11'8"W

OS Eastings: 326078

OS Northings: 674708

OS Grid: NT260747

Mapcode National: GBR 8QC.73

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.1GBL

Plus Code: 9C7RXR57+VQ

Entry Name: 19 Gayfield Square, 18A, 18, Edinburgh

Listing Name: 18-20 (Inclusive Nos) Gayfield Square Including Railings

Listing Date: 19 April 1966

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 367391

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB28806

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200367391

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Hugh Cairncross, 1808. Classical terraced double tenement block with symmetrical 4-storey and basement, 7- bay elevation to Gayfield Square (6-bay elevation to rear). Droved ashlar (coursed rubble with droved margins to basement; coursed rubble with dressed margins to rear). Dividing band between basement and ground floor; dividing band between ground and 1st floor and between 2nd and 3rd floor; eaves cornice; blocking course. Regular fenestration.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to centre bay, steps and platt overarching basement recess leading to timber-panelled door with 4-light rectangular fanlight; to 2nd and 6th bays, steps and platt overarching basement recess leading to timber-panelled door with half-wheel design glazing to letterbox fanlight.

GLAZING etc: 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Pitched roof; grey slates; stone skews and skewputts. 1 stack to front pitch to centre; 1 ridge stack to centre; 1 ridge stack to right; all stacks corniced ashlar with droved dressings and circular cans.

RAILINGS: spear-head and urn finialled cast-iron railings set in stone copes edging basement recess; plain railings edging steps and platts.

Statement of Interest

This classically detailed double tenement block is a good example of early 19th century tenement design in Edinburgh. It also has streetscape and historical value as an element of the Gayfield estate development. The relative simplicity of detailing, compared to the adjoining terrace to the left (also by Cairncross; separately listed), is reflective of the building's position on the road running out of the square, which causes it to be largely hidden from view when looking at the square from Leith Walk. It also has significance as one of the few extant buildings designed by Cairncross, formerly a pupil or assistant of Robert Adam, for whom he was clerk of works at several prestigious projects including Culzean Castle and Old College, Edinburgh University.

18-20 Gayfield Square forms part of the Gayfield Estate, so named because it stands on the former grounds of Gayfield House (East London Street; 1763-5, still extant; separately listed Category A). These lands were feued by the solicitor James Jollie from 1785. Building began on either side of the drive to the house, with James Begg's magnificent tenement building to the NE and villas to the SW. These developments began to establish the form Gayfield Square, which forms the heart of the estate. It was part of Jollie's plan from the beginning that this should be so; in January 1783 he advertised that the Gayfield grounds were to be feued for building purposes 'according to a plan.' His advertisment promised prospective feuars 'remarkably pleasant' rustic situation and 'uncommonly beautiful views' in addition to 'the privilege of the area of the square'. Sasines record that '..the area of Gayfield Place [is] to remain an open space for all time coming.'

By the first few years of the 19th century, Jollie had employed Cairncross to prepare plans and elevations for buildings on plots yet to be feued on the NW and NE sides of Gayfield Place, and also possibly for Union Place. There is some evidence to suggest that John Fraser, a builder, bought and built on all the feus on this NW side.

External Links

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