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Cafe Royal, 17 West Register Street, Edinburgh

A Category A Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9538 / 55°57'13"N

Longitude: -3.1906 / 3°11'26"W

OS Eastings: 325754

OS Northings: 674056

OS Grid: NT257740

Mapcode National: GBR 8PF.67

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.YMV3

Plus Code: 9C7RXR35+GQ

Entry Name: Cafe Royal, 17 West Register Street, Edinburgh

Listing Name: West Register Street, Cafe Royal

Listing Date: 8 January 1970

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 369753

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB29619

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200369753

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Robert Paterson, 1861; altered A W Macnaughton, 1893-5; J Macintyre Henry, 1898-1901; Henry and T Forbes Maclennan, 1923. French 2nd Empire hotel and oyster bar. 3-storey basement and double attic in steep mansard 6-bay with quadrant corner bays to return elevations. Polished cream ashlar sandstone. Base course, pavement grilles to basement; basket arches and cornice at ground; arcaded fenestration at 1st floor with simple cornice band; pilastraded 2nd floor with lugged architraves and keystones; heavy consoled cornice. Pedestalled parapet with interlaced arcaded cast-iron (?) balustrade; pedimented ashlar dormers at corners with acroteria; pedimented timber dormers behind parapet; arched timber dormers to upper attic. Slim timber mullions. Pedimented doorway to Oyster Bar with polished pink granite columns at NW corner, 1898.

Register Place elevation: symmetrical 6-bay. Arched doorway at centre right with pair of Corinthian columns and incised decoration; consoled panelled parapet dated 1862. Cellar hatch to centre left bay; secondary door to right bay with wrought-iron bracket bearing lobster above. 3 dormers.

West Register Street elevation: 5-bay; door to right to upper floors. 3 dormers.

Gabriel's Road elevation: 2 bays as above; 2 further plain stugged bays to S above pedimented door with granite columns (as above). 1 dormer.

Bipartite plate glass windows at ground and 1st floor (with opening roundels); 4-pane timber sash and case above. Grey slates; harled stacks.

Interior: remodelled by J Macintyre Henry, 1900-1, with sumptuous woodwork; panelled dado, foliate rococo frieze, delicate compartmented ceiling with tiny hanging bosses at intersections. Bar at ground to E, with 6 large Doulton tile pictures of famous inventors, designed by John Eyre, executed by K Sturgeon and W G W Nunn; brass Corinthian lamp standards on consoled central bar; upholstered horseshoe booths to window wall. Oyster Bar, separated by arcaded mirror screen, with small tiled ovals set into woodwork of red marble counter; 8 stained glass windows of British sportsmen by Ballantine and Gardiner; 3 more tile pictures, 1 as above, 2 of ships on Clyde and Mersey by Esther Lewis.

At 1st floor, Crown Room with opulent plasterwork and gilded figurines at arcade spandrels; ceiling roundels. American Bar at NW corner, 1923, with Wrennaisance woodwork. Function room with 3 domes to ceiling extends to S (above 5-17 (odd nos) West Register Street - see separate listing).

Statement of Interest

Originally built with ground floor as a gas showroom for the owner Robert Hume & Co., but converted to Cafe Royal Hotel and Oyster Bar before opening. Probably the first mansard of its kind in central Edinburgh, it once had iron cresting. Some of the plasterwork is hard to date, but the woodwork is all Henry's. The tile pictures were shown at the Inventions Exhibition in 1885, and possibly at the Meadows Exibition the following year.

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