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Latitude: 55.9554 / 55°57'19"N
Longitude: -3.1484 / 3°8'54"W
OS Eastings: 328389
OS Northings: 674197
OS Grid: NT283741
Mapcode National: GBR 8YD.RM
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.LKYV
Entry Name: 5b Abbey Street, Abbeyhill Primary School, with Boundary Walls, Railings, Gatepiers and Janitor's House
Listing Date: 19 December 2002
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396610
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49049
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Craigentinny/Duddingston
Traditional County: Midlothian
Robert Wilson, 1880 and 1894 with later additions. Asymmetrical 2-storey (3 storeys to rear) school building the gothic detailing to N; later, plainer 3-storey T-plan school building to S with original swimming pool; 2-storey polygonal janitor's house to SW. Squared and snecked stugged sandstone with polished dressings.
ORIGINAL (1880) BUILDING: five 2- and 3-bay sections, stepped in plan. Cream sandstone. Advanced basecourse; string course passing over down-pipes; eaves cornice. Chamfered corners to all openings; pointed arches to all ground floor openings to N and all 1st floor openings to S.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3-bay entrance block to outer left: timber panelled door to right with plate glass fanlight; School Board carved roundel in gablet breaking eaves. Advanced 3-bay gabled section with 2-bay returns to right; triple lancet windows to 1st floor. Regular fenestration to other sections. Block to outer right obscured at ground by gabled single-storey early twentieth century extension.
S ELEVATION: 3-storey, with 4-storey block to outer right. Playsheds to ground of 2 centre blocks; bays divided by cast-iron columns. Gablet-headed dormers breaking eaves to upper floor. Advanced 3-bay gable to penultimate right, lancet windows to upper floor. Corbelled bracket at gable-head for bell-gable. Ground floor to outer right obscured by modern extension.
Predominantly 6-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Grey slate. Stone skews with kneelered skewputts. Polygonal, shouldered stacks without cans.
LATER (1894) BLOCK: red sandstone.
SW (FRONT) ELEVATION: 4 bays with 2 forward-facing finialled gables to centre. Bipartite windows to outer left; segmental-arched dormer-head breaking eaves to 2nd floor. Arched window flanked by rectangular windows to 2nd floor of centre-left bay. Regular fenestration elsewhere.
OTHER ELEVATIONS: fairly regular fenestration to other elevations. Some bipartite windows; single dormers breaking eaves to NE and NW. Tall chimney and modern ground-floor extensions to NE.
Small-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slates; ashlar coped skews. Corniced stacks with circular cans. Cast-iron down-pipes.
INTERIORS: plain classrooms with simple moulded cornice to ceilings and some boarded timber panelling. SWIMMING POOL: in basement of 1894 building. Steel girder ceiling; some white tiles to dado, painted brick above. Fairly modern tiles to pool. Communal sunken tiled shower adjacent to NW. Original changing cubicles to SW with hooks and benches.
JANITOR'S HOUSE: eaves course, string course passing over down pipes, base course. Timber panelled door. Regular fenestration, gablet headed dormers with modern glazing. Grey slates. Tall shouldered stacks. Cast-iron down-pipes.
BOUNDARY WALLS, RAILINGS, AND GATEPIERS: random rubble boundary wall, coped ashlar gate piers, plain cast-iron gates and railings.
The Scottish School Boards were established following the 1872 Education Act (Scotland) which made it compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 13 to receive an education. This necessitated the building of a number of new schools in Edinburgh, and between 1872 and 1889 twenty new schools were built. The Board architect was Robert Wilson who designed these early schools in a simple gothic style that included a number of uniform features: multi-gabled building with stepped plan, belfry, pointed openings with chamfered corners, shouldered chimney stacks, and a circular relief, to the design of William Brodie, depicting a female (Education) assisting a child with a task with a globe nearby. The earlier block at Abbeyhill contains all these features. The second building, also designed by Wilson is plainer, but demonstrates important changes in the curriculum. It contained a classroom for practical cookery and manual tuition, and a small swimming pool - the second of four to be built in Edinburgh schools during the 1890s (the other 3 were at Sciennes, Bruntsfield and Broughton). The pool has lost its original tiles, but is still used by a number of Edinburgh schools. It is interesting to note that the pool has always been heated.
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