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Shrub Mount, Portobello High Street, Edinburgh

A Category C Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9545 / 55°57'16"N

Longitude: -3.1165 / 3°6'59"W

OS Eastings: 330379

OS Northings: 674055

OS Grid: NT303740

Mapcode National: GBR 2C.XV32

Mapcode Global: WH6SN.3L6L

Plus Code: 9C7RXV3M+Q9

Entry Name: Shrub Mount, Portobello High Street, Edinburgh

Listing Name: 78-82 (Even Numbers) Portobello High Street, Former Shrub Mount

Listing Date: 24 August 1999

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 393616

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46336

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Portobello/Craigmillar

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Early 19th century. 2-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan house with mid 19th century single storey former museum adjoining to rear. Harled and whitewashed with raised painted margins.

SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; ground floor obscured by 20th century shop fronts; windows to centre and left bays of 1st floor, late 19th century canted window to right of 1st floor.

SE ELEVATION: doorway to former museum enclosed in adjoining close to late 19th century tenement, entered through boarded timber door to left of tenement ground floor; recessed porch supported on 2 Tuscan columns flanked left and right by pilasters, flush-panelled timber door (re-sited off-centre); evidence of single window to left of porch, remainder of elevation obscured by adjoining building.

NE ELEVATION: asymmetrical; bowed bay to centre, (partly brick construction), window to centre and right, timber door to left; flat timber door with letterbox fanlight and small square window to flanking bay to left, recessed doorway to flanking bay to right; single storey block adjoining to outer right.

NW ELEVATION: obscured by adjoining building; window off-centre to right of 1st floor of High Street block.

Modern pivot and plate glass windows with top hoppers. Grey slate part piended roofs with lead ridges. Coped harled wallhead stack with circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: ground floor much altered; stone stair with timber handrail and iron balusters; timber panelled doors; reeded architraves; original plain cornices to coombed ceilings at 1st floor; museum interior not seen 1999.

Statement of Interest

Hugh Miller (1802-1856) was born in a cottage in Cromarty, (see separate listing Comarty Burgh). He trained as a stonemason, but moved to a job in the Bank of Scotland (1834) when he married Lydia Fraser. In 1840 he was offered a job writing for The Witness in Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards The Old Red Sandstone, his best known book was published (1841). Miller's contribution to geology and science in general was considerable, he spent a great deal of time studying the geology of the area, and was instrumental in expansion of the local coal mining industry. He moved to Shrub Mount, Portobello in 1852 (so called because of its extensive garden), where he remained for the rest of his life. Miller wrote his autobiography and last book in the house. The tripartite columned porch survives inside the close, and the 1st floor interior remains largely intact. Miller built a museum to the rear of Shrub Mount, to house his extensive collection of geological specimens. Most of the museum still survives, notably the projecting bow. Due to overwork and anxiety about the safety of his geological collection Hugh Miller tragically shot himself in the bedroom of Shrub Mount in 1856. Although the house is much altered the building is listed for its strong historic interest and the survival of numerous original details.

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