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Latitude: 55.9596 / 55°57'34"N
Longitude: -3.1873 / 3°11'14"W
OS Eastings: 325970
OS Northings: 674705
OS Grid: NT259747
Mapcode National: GBR 8PC.W4
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.0GHM
Plus Code: 9C7RXR57+V3
Entry Name: London Street Primary School, East London Street, Edinburgh
Listing Name: 63 East London Street, London Street Primary School, Including Girls' and Boys' Playsheds, Boundary Walls, Railings and Gatepiers
Listing Date: 19 March 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396709
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49146
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: City Centre
Traditional County: Midlothian
Robert Wilson, 1887; enlarged to the rear by John A.Carfrae, 1910, subsequent later 20th century additions to rear. Symmetrical classical school building with 19-bay principal elevation: 2-storey and attic, 3-bay advanced pedimented pavilion to centre, flanking 2-storey, 3-bay slightly advanced pedimented pavilions to left and right; lower 2-storey, 2-bay wings to outer left and right; 3-storey section running NE to SW behind front elevation. Polished ashlar. Base course; ground floor cill course; dividing band between ground and 1st floor; architraved panel (pavilions only); 1st floor cill course; dividing band/cornice between 1st and 2nd floors; eaves cornice (dentilled to outer wings and return of outer pavilions to principal elevation). Channelled quoins to pavilions and outer wings; pilasters dividing bays to left and right pavilions, 1st floor (fluted capitals; paired pilasters between windows) and attic floor of central pavilion of principal elevation, 2nd storeys to NE and SW elevations and attic storey to rear elevation. Predominantly regular fenestration.
NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to ground floor, to 2nd and 18th bays, steps leading to timber panelled door with rectangular fanlight; pilastered doorpieces with consoled pediments. Predominantly architraved windows; to central pavilion and flanking recessed sections, corniced architraves flanked by narrow pilasters to ground floor. To central pavilion: to 1st floor, continuous cornice above openings; to attic floor, panelled pilasters with scrolled pediments to corners; panelled aprons and continuous cornice to windows; to pediment, blind oculus to centre; scrolled acroterion to apex.
NE ELEVATION: to centre, 2-storey, 2-bay block with fenestration to slightly advanced pedimented left bay only; tripartite windows with pilastered mullions. Adjoining to left, single storey, 4-bay modern block with projecting porch to outer right bay. Rising from behind modern block, 3-storey, 3-bay elevation (1st and 2nd floors visible only) with pilasters dividing bays to 2nd floor. Recessed behind central block, 3-bay, 3-storey (2nd floor visible only) pedimented block with pilasters dividing windows. Visible behind central block, side elevation and roof of outer pavilion of NW elevation, with single bay visible to right.
SW ELEVATION: to centre, 2-storey, 2-bay block with fenestration to slightly advanced pedimented right bay only; to ground floor 2-leaf timber-panelled door with letterbox fanlight and narrow window to left; to 1st floor, tripartite window with pilastered mullions. Adjoining to left, 2-storey, 2-bay modern block. Visible behind and to right of modern block, 3-storey, 4-bay elevation (to ground and 1st floors, only 3 right bays visible) with pilasters dividing bays to 2nd floor. Recessed behind central block, 3-bay, 3-storey (2nd floor visible only) pedimented block with pilasters dividing windows. Visible behind central block, side elevation and roof of outer pavilion of NW elevation, with single bay visible to left.
SE (REAR) ELEVATION: 3-bay, 2-storey and attic advanced pedimented central pavilion. Flanking to left, 2- bay, 3-storey wing; tall rendered stack to right; to 2nd floor, single pilasters to left corner, single bipartite window to right. To outer right, 5-bay, 2-storey wing; to right, 1885 bay with bipartite window to 1st floor; to left, 4 modern bays with timber door with fanlight to 4th bay from left. Flanking central pavilion to right, 3-bay, 2-storey wing; to 2nd floor, 2-bay with cill course. To outer left, 4-bay single storey modern wing with timber door and fanlight to far left bay.
GLAZING etc: predominantly 15-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; predominantly 10-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to tripartite and bipartite openings; plate glass in timber windows to attic storey to principal elevation; 3-pane glazing in timber windows to attic storey to rear elevation; plate-glass in top-hopper windows to modern sections. Pitched leaded roof with rooflights along ridges to central pavilions and inner 3-storey block; flat roofs to 1910 and modern extensions; piended, graded grey slate roofs to remainder. 2 ornamental ventilators to each ridge of wings flanking central pavilion. Single corniced ashlar ridge stack to each wing flanking central pavilion to front elevation; 2 corniced rendered wallhead stacks to front elevation of inner 3-storey block; corniced ashlar wallhead stack to right of central block to SW elevation.
BOYS' PLAYSHED: situated to SE of main building; to centre, 2-storey, 4-bay section (see Notes) with open arcaded ground floor supported by cast-iron columns; to 1st floor, hammer-dressed snecked masonry with long and short ashlar quoins and window margins; eaves cornice. To left, single-storey open 2-bay arcaded shelter with cast-iron columns. To right, 6-bay single storey wing (former lavatory wing); ashlar; blocked door to 4th bay from left; high level small openings (blocked) to remaining bays; modern railings surrounding eaves.
GLAZING etc: To central block, 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Piended roof; graded grey slate; ventilator to ridge. 4 rooflights to front pitch, single rooflight to NE pitch. Rendered corniced stack with circular can to NE pitch. To left wing, leaded mono-pitch roof. To right wing, piended felted roof.
GIRLS' PLAYSHEDS AND LAVATORY BLOCK: situated to immediate SW of main building long single storey building; ashlar to front elevation, random rubble to rear (see Notes). To left, long open 7-bay arcade with cast-iron columns. To right, lavatory block; mid-level band course; small high level blind openings; ventilation grille to roof. Piended felted roof.
BOUNDARY WALLS, RAILINGS AND GATEPIERS: to NW and NE boundary, dwarf ashlar wall surmounted by cast-iron railings with dog-bars; 1 pair of corniced square gatepiers breaking NE wall; 2 pairs of corniced square gatepiers breaking NW wall (corresponding with position of doorways to front elevation); gates to match railings. To SW corner of playground, random rubble boundary wall with flat ashlar coping, surmounted by cast-iron railings (see Notes). To S of main building, length of random rubble walling with saddleback coping (see Notes). Some cast-iron rainwater goods with ornamental hoppers.
London Street Primary School stands on land which forms part of the Gayfield Estate, so named because it stands on the former grounds of Gayfield House (East London Street; 1763-5, still extant; separately listed Category A). These lands were feued by the solicitor James Jollie from 1785. Building began on either side of the drive to the house, with James Begg's magnificent tenement building to the NE and villas to the SW. These developments began to establish the form Gayfield Square, which forms the heart of the estate. It was part of Jollie's plan from the beginning that this should be so; in January 1783 he advertised that the Gayfield grounds were to be feued for building purposes 'according to a plan'. His advertisment promised prospective feuars 'remarkably pleasant' rustic situation and 'uncommonly beautiful views' in addition to 'the privilege of the area of the square'. Sasines record that '..the area of Gayfield Place [is] to remain an open space for all time coming.'
The estate was popular, and the major phase of building was complete by 1830. However, the area of land nearest to Gayfield House itself remained largely developed.
In the 1850s, a large proportion of the land which the school and its playground now occupy still formed part of the gardens of Gayfield House; the remainder formed the garden of 10 Gayfield Square to the SE, and a communal drying green and group of buildings known as Broughton Court to the SW. By 1877, East London Street had been driven through the gardens to the south of Gayfield House and there had been some development of the land where the main school building now stands. When the school was built by the Edinburgh School Board in 1877, the garden land of 10 Gayfield Square (Listed separately) was incorporated into the playground. However, the area to the SW occupied by the drying green and Broughton Court remained, separated from the school grounds by the original garden walls of Gayfield House and 10 Gayfield Square. This remained the case until Broughton Court was demolished in the second half of the 20th century. Part of the original garden wall remains in the S area of the playground, and another section forms the rear wall of the girl's playsheds; the wall in the SW corner of the playground dates from the building of the adjacent former Broughton Place Church (see separate List description) in the early 1820's. The boys' playsheds were originally all single storey, but were later altered, possibly as part of the 1910 extension scheme. The main part of the 1910 alterations involved the addition of an extra storey to the wings flanking the central pavilion to the rear.
There are several differences between the plans submitted by Wilson to the Dean of Guild and the school as it was actually built. The changes included the simplification of pediment ornamentation (for instance, the central pediment to the front elevation was to have had a sculpted roundel depicting 'Education', a design by William Brodie which was used on other Edinburgh Board schools) and changes to the eaves cornice (originally intended to have been dentilled to the majority of the front elevation but plain to the outer wings; this arrangement is reversed in the existing building). Unfortunately, the stonework is currently (2002) in a poor condition, and many details, especially cornices, are much defaced.
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