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10-12 (Inclusive Nos) Brunton Place and 2 Brunton Terrace

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9579 / 55°57'28"N

Longitude: -3.1741 / 3°10'26"W

OS Eastings: 326792

OS Northings: 674493

OS Grid: NT267744

Mapcode National: GBR 8SC.KR

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.6HSZ

Entry Name: 10-12 (Inclusive Nos) Brunton Place and 2 Brunton Terrace

Listing Date: 29 April 1977

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397350

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49745

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Leith Walk

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

Designed by John Chesser, built by Laurie and Scott, 1883-1886. Classical 4-storey tenement of common stair and main door flats on corner site; 7-bay (6-bay ground floor) Brunton Place elevation, quadrant corner with tripartite fenestration leading to 5-bay (6-bay to ground floor) Brunton Terrace elevation. Polished ashlar (coursed rubble with dressed margins to rear). Base course; dividing band between ground and 1st floors; moulded cill course to 1st floor; cill band to 2nd floor; modillioned corniced dividing 2nd and 3rd floors (to Brunton Place elevation only); cill band to 3rd floor; eaves cornice; blocking course. Predominantly regular fenestration; architraves to ground floor (Brunton Place elevation only), 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor windows (excluding canted bay); aprons to windows to 1st floor.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to 4th bay from left to ground floor, timber-panelled door (access to common stair) with letterbox fanlight, framed by doorpiece of 2 engaged fluted Greek Doric columns supporting entablature and pediment breaking 1st floor cill course; flanked to left and right by 2-bay groupings comprising narrow windows with extended cills to inner bays, timber-panelled doors (access to main door flat) with letterbox fanlight, framed by Greek Doric pilasters with slightly projecting entablature above to outer bays; to far left bay window with recessed surround and apron.

W (BRUNTON TERRACE) ELEVATION: bipartite windows to outer right bay; to centre, canted bay with stop-chamfered mullions dividing windows. To ground floor, between 4th and 5th bays from left, timber-panelled door with rectangular fanlight. Corniced 1st floor windows. Returned modillioned cornice below 3rd floor cill course to far left. To far left to 1st floor, recessed architraved rectangular panel with round arch to top, with fielded panel inside bearing date '1886' and initials 'JC'.

GLAZING etc: plate glass in timber sash and case windows. Half pitched roof to front and side elevations with piended sections to rear; graded grey slates; predominantly stone skews and skewputts. To Brunton Place elevation: mutual ridge stack to far left, ridge stack to centre; to Brunton Terrace elevation, 2 shouldered wallhead stacks; ridge stack to centre; to far right, gablehead stack; stacks predominantly corniced ashlar with octangular cans.

Statement of Interest

Part of the Calton A-Group.

10-12 Brunton Place is significant for the role it plays in preserving the line of one of the most important streets in Playfair's Calton or Eastern New Town Scheme. It is also important due to its continuation of the Greek Revival style which is characteristic of the relatively few buildings of the scheme that were actually constructed. The quadrant corner section of this block also makes an important contribution to the streetscape.

The origins of this new town, which was to occupy the east end of Calton Hill and lands to the north of it on the ground between Easter Road and Leith Walk, lie in a 'joint plan for building' which three principal feuars (Heriot's Hospital, Trinity Hospital and Mr Allan of Hillside) entered into in 1811. In 1812 a competition was advertised for plans for laying out the grounds in question. Thirty-two plans were received, displayed and reported on by a variety of people, including eight architects. Eventually, it was decided that none of the plans was suitable. However, it was a more general report by William Stark (who died shortly after submitting it) which caught the attention of the Commissioners and formed the basis of the final scheme. Stark's central argument stressed the importance of planning around the natural contours and features of the land rather than imposing formal, symmetrical street plans upon it. After several years of little or no progress, in 1818 the Commissioners finally selected William Henry Playfair, who in his early years had been associated with Stark, to plan a scheme following Stark's Picturesque ideals.

The resulting scheme, presented to the Commissioners in 1819, preserved the view of and from Calton Hill by the creation of a limited development of three single sided terraces on the hill itself. These looked over a huge radial street pattern, centred on the gardens of Hillside Crescent, on the land to the north. The feuing of these lower lands started well, with Elm Row, Leopold Place and the west side of Hillside Crescent being built fairly swiftly. However, demand for the feus faltered severely, due to the growing popularity of new properties being built to the west of the New Town. The fate of the Calton scheme was sealed in 1838, when it was decided that feuars should pay poor-rates to both Edinburgh and Leith.. This virtually halted development for the next thirty years. Hillside Crescent also had particular problems with subsidence, which further exacerbated the lack of interest in the scheme. The result of all these problems was that very little of Playfair's original scheme was ever built. When building resumed in the late 1880s, some of Playfair's original street lines were adhered to, as was the case with Brunton Place and Hillside Crescent, and in others such as Brunswick Street, Hillside Street (originally to be a longer street called Hopeton Street), and Wellington Street (also curtailed). However, due to piecemeal residential, industrial and transport developments immediately to the north, it would have been impossible to further follow Playfair's original layout, even if this had been considered desirable.

When completing Brunton Place and Hillside Crescent in the 1880s, John Chesser did not follow Playfair's original elevations. Instead, he chose to base his design on a simplified and cruder version of 4-9 Brunton Place, the only section of Brunton Place which was built to Playfair's designs.

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