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Latitude: 55.9593 / 55°57'33"N
Longitude: -3.185 / 3°11'5"W
OS Eastings: 326116
OS Northings: 674664
OS Grid: NT261746
Mapcode National: GBR 8QC.B7
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.1GMW
Entry Name: 27, 28 and 29 Gayfield Square Including Railings
Listing Date: 19 April 1966
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396713
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49149
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: City Centre
Traditional County: Midlothian
Hugh Cairncross, building 1807. Classical double tenement with common stair to centre; symmetrical 3-storey basement and attic, 11-bay elevation to Gayfield Square. Smooth V-jointed rustication to ground floor (except centre bay), droved ashlar to upper floors and all storeys of centre bay (droved ashlar to basement; predominantly coursed rubble with dressed margins to rear). Dividing band between basement and ground floor and between ground and 1st floor (excluding centre bay); cill band to 1st floor; main cornice dividing 2nd and attic floors; eaves course. Centre bay slightly recessed. Regular fenestration.
SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to centre bay to ground floor, timber-panelled door with 6-pane fanlight; to centre bay to left advanced section, 2-leaf timber panelled door with umbrella glazing to segmental fanlight and pilastered doorpiece; to centre bay to right advanced section, timber- panelled door with umbrella glazing to segmental fanlight, doorpiece with sunk-panelled jambs; steps and platt over-arching basement recess to each doorway.
GLAZING etc: predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; some 15-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to rear elevation. M-roof with valley gutter; graded grey slates; stone skews and skewputts. Corniced ashlar mutual ridge stacks to far left and far right; 2 corniced ashlar ridge stacks to front pitch to centre; 1 corniced, rendered ridge stack to rear pitch; 2 corniced, rendered wallhead stacks to rear; circular cans to all stacks.
RAILINGS: to edge of basement recess and platts, stone copes (edging of basement only) surmounted by spear-head and urn finialled cast iron railings.
This classically detailed double tenement block is a good example of early 19th century high quality tenement design in Edinburgh. It also has streetscape and historical value as an element of the Gayfield estate development. It also has significance as one of the few extant buildings designed by Cairncross, formerly a pupil or assistant of Robert Adam, for whom he was clerk of works at several prestigious projects, including Culzean Castle and Old College, Edinburgh University.
27-29 Gayfield Square 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.'
By the first few years of the 19th century, Jollie had employed Cairncross to prepare plans and elevations for buildings on plots yet to be feued on the NW and NE sides of Gayfield Place, and also possibly for Union Place. There is some evidence to suggest that John and Alexander Drysdale and David Skae, all builders, bought and built on the feus on this NW side.
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