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30b Howdenhall Road, Mortonhall Crematorium with Remembrance Chapel, Waiting Room, Lodge Houses and Screen Walls

A Category A Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9024 / 55°54'8"N

Longitude: -3.1703 / 3°10'13"W

OS Eastings: 326922

OS Northings: 668318

OS Grid: NT269683

Mapcode National: GBR 6095.FZ

Mapcode Global: WH6ST.8XK0

Entry Name: 30b Howdenhall Road, Mortonhall Crematorium with Remembrance Chapel, Waiting Room, Lodge Houses and Screen Walls

Listing Date: 15 April 1996

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 389651

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB43242

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Liberton/Gilmerton

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

Sir Basil Spence, Glover and Ferguson, project architect A Dewar, 1967 for Corporation of the City of Edinburgh. Multi-denominational crematorium and service block flanked by large chapel to SE and small chapel to W. Expressionist style, dramatic geometric angular shapes of white calcined flint aggregate concrete blocks, coursed in varying heights and clustering with vertical emphasis. Narrow, full-height windows of natural weathered red cedar, zinc roofs. Bronze metalwork.

CREMATORIUM: long, low flat-roofed block with office and service access at rear, chimney on roof.

MAIN CHAPEL: symmetrical, angular composition of slab walls with narrow windows in angles. Central timber flat-roofed porch, timber doors with vertical, glazed panels, window above with timber fin-like mullions projecting. Triangular zinc spire, glazed to S. INTERIOR: white painted walls, central aisle flanked by simple natural pine pews set at an angle. Tall S windows glazed in yellow, amber, green, blue and purple glass, walls plain white. Catafalque in altar position with cross and curtain on wall behind. Organ located above doorway on cantilevered platform accessed by metal spiral stair. Domed bronzed light fittings suspended low over pews.

SMALL CHAPEL: of simpler composition; 2 angular slab blocks placed at

45 degree angles either side of central doorway, detailed as main chapel. Circular zinc tower rising from roof with skylight at top lighting catafalque. INTERIOR: white-painted walls, simple natural pine pews set at angle to aisle, altar arrangement as above with frieze of religious symbols in glass panels above cross. Organ in recess to left of altar. Yellow coloured glass to windows over door, lights set into ceiling.

REMEMBRANCE CHAPEL: small chapel to W of main block, built of 2 slab blocks with timber screen between of door and windows, overlooking grassed area to W. 2 screening slabs on driveway approach serve as gatepiers.

WAITING ROOM: to SW of Crematorium, long low structure of aggregate concrete block piers, flat roof with boarded timber eaves above, glass and timber screen walls set at angles to create 3 separate bays of outside seating, also an enclosed glazed area with concrete block seating. Adjoining screen walls to service vehicle depot.

SCREEN WALLS AND LODGE HOUSES: aggregate concrete screen walls to main road with lettering and armorial in bronze, large timber gates. 2 flat-roofed, single storey lodge houses, built on brick basement, harled with natural boarded timber eaves, plate glass windows with top-hoppers.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Edwards refers to the spirit of Le Corbusier in this work by Spence, and suggests a stylistic debt to Ronchamp in the theatrical use of wall-planes and shafted light. The use of deflected light and colour is comparable with Coventry Cathedral. Memorial garden and a large stone cross on rise to W. Extensive landscaped grounds around crematorium maintained as public garden.

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