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Latitude: 55.9509 / 55°57'3"N
Longitude: -3.1831 / 3°10'59"W
OS Eastings: 326214
OS Northings: 673729
OS Grid: NT262737
Mapcode National: GBR 8QG.Q8
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.2PHB
Plus Code: 9C7RXR28+9P
Entry Name: 259-261 Canongate, Edinburgh
Listing Name: 249-263 (Odd Nos) Canongate, and 43 New Street, Morocco Land Redevelopment
Listing Date: 24 January 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396639
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49076
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: City Centre
Traditional County: Midlothian
Robert Hurd, 1956-7, project architect Ian Begg. 5 adjoining but distinct blocks of 4-storey tenements in modern Scots vernacular idiom; shops at ground to Nos 263-1 and 251-3. On sloping corner site facing S at Canongate, E at New Street.
NOS 259-263: 2 2-bay tenements; roofline divided by flat skews and rubble stack; part sandstone ashlar/part pale green render to 263; timber boarded door with iron grille over glazed panel; rubble ground floor to 259-261; both with roll-moulded style openings to ground; large recessed bow windows to shops with vertical timber astragals and bowed sills.
NOS 255-257: 5-bay red harled block set back from street; bay to outer right treated as timber outshot from 1st to 3rd floor; rubble and ashlar low 'forestair' at ground. Timber boarded part-glazed door to 255; that to 257 modern replacement. Small iron-railed balconies to large windows at outer left from 1st to 3rd floor.
NOS 251-253: 6-bay cream harled block with sandstone ashlar 4-bay arcade at ground, shops within (shopfronts similar to Nos 259-263); further single arch to each return. Large square window openings with raised ashlar margins to outer left at 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.
NO 249: ashlar corner gabled block with rubble basecourse (2 bays to Canongate, 3 to New Street); balconies (as above) from 1st to 3rd floor at right; bipartite windows to left with raised margins. Further single bay (containing stairwell) to outer left in rubble; 2 oval windows; timber boarded part-glazed door. Basement windows to New Street.
43 NEW STREET: 3-bay ashlar section; raised margin bipartites to left. Further single rubble bay (stairwell); timber boarded 2-leaf door.
N (REAR) ELEVATIONS: similar treatment to front elevations.
Grey slate roofs, red pantiles to Nos 255-7; flat skews; rubble stacks to 259-263, rendered to 251-3, ashlar wallhead stack to 249. Original small-pane metal-framed tilt and pivot windows (some 16-pane); metal-framed casements and 12-pane timber sash and case windows; some replacement uPVC glazing.
Built to replace slum tenements (see NMRS Refs STE 10, 11) the Morocco Land Redevelopment reflects Scottish tenemental architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period was viewed as the 'most national' (Robert Hurd in Glendinning et al p410) by the new traditionalist architects of the mid 20th century, of which Hurd was a leading exponent. The project received a Civic Trust Award in 1960. Morocco Land itself, at 265-7 Canongate (listed separately), is a late 17th/early 18th century tenement reconstructed by Hurd as part of the scheme. Hurd's philosophy in redeveloping swathes of the Canongate (at Chessel's Court and the Tollbooth Area) was to re-introduce a resident population to the Old Town drawing from all social groups. Architecturally, national modernism re-interpreted the Scots vernacular acknowledging traditional materials and forms including red pantiles; grey slates; rubble, ashlar, timber, render and harl; arcading; and small-pane glazing. The wide arcaded block at Nos 251-3 takes the form of a late 17th century tenement where a simple arcade provides shelter at ground level. The broken rooflines, irregular frontages, colour and materials create a varied streetscape; the fenestration is also non-standard in size and balconies are incorporated. Some windows throughout the scheme have unfortunately been replaced with non-traditional uPVC glazing (as at 2002).
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