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Latitude: 55.956 / 55°57'21"N
Longitude: -3.1737 / 3°10'25"W
OS Eastings: 326814
OS Northings: 674287
OS Grid: NT268742
Mapcode National: GBR 8SD.MF
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.6KZD
Entry Name: 5 Carlton Terrace Including Railings and Boundary Walls
Listing Date: 16 December 1965
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397354
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49747
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: City Centre
Traditional County: Midlothian
William Playfair, designed 1821-1825, built from late 1820s-mid 1830s. Part of long hairpin-curved terrace of 19 classical town houses; Nos 1-4 and 14-19, rectangular-plan houses with straight 3-bay front elevations; Nos 5-13, wedge-plan houses with curved 4-bay front elevations; predominantly 2-storey and basement with balustraded parapet; panelled parapets to Nos 1, 14 and 17. Droved ashlar to basements; polished ashlar to upper floors; predominantly coursed squared rubble with droved margins to side and rear elevations. Base course to basements; dividing band between basement and ground floors and ground and 1st floors; modillioned eaves cornice to front elevations, eaves band to rear elevations. Raised door surrounds with consoled cornices. Regular fenestration; architraved and corniced windows with panelled aprons to ground floor; architraved windows with cast-iron balconnettes to 1st floor.
SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 4-bay elevation. To basement, beneath platt, timber-panelled door with 3-light fanlight in segmental opening; windows to remaining bays. To ground floor to 2nd bay from left, platt overarching basement recess leading to 2-leaf timber-panelled and glazed door with triple-circle glazed fanlight. Above modillioned cornice, attic storey (later addition; see Notes) with lintel course and eaves cornice.
NW (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-bay elevation.
GLAZING etc: predominantly plate glass; 12-pane glazing to basement to principal elevation; glazing in timber sash and case windows. Predominantly flat roof with slated pitch to rear. Between No 5 and No 6, mutual ashlar wallhead stack with canted front, corniced with circular cans.
RAILINGS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: to front, edging basement recess and platt, stone coping surmounted by cast-iron railings with dog bars, spear-head finials and distinctive circled border; wrought iron lamp standard to left of platt. To rear, forming boundary of garden, random rubble walls with predominantly flat coping.
INTERIOR: to ground floor: to lobby; compartmented ceiling with relief-patterned caissons, good plasterwork, pilastered arch leading to stair hall, to left, wide pilastered arched opening to room with classical grey marble chimneypiece; to former dining room, corniced and pilastered doorpiece, timber wall panelling to dado height, large pilastered timber chimneypiece, deep cavetto cornice with shallow relief patterning; strapwork style plasterwork to ceiling; to rear room (NW), good plaster cornice with shallow-relief frieze beneath to 1st floor: front room (SE), classical stone chimneypiece with modern marble paint effect, good plasterwork; to former drawing room, corniced and pilastered doorpieces; non-original timber chimneypiece; good plasterwork cornice; modern Adam-style plasterwork to ceiling; to rear room (NE), shallow-relief frieze beneath plain cornice. To 2nd floor: rear room (NE) (see Notes), painted pilastered classical stone chimneypiece, good plasterwork, deep cavetto cornice, rectangular cupola. To stair and stair hall: square cupola with cavetto cornice above stair; to stairs, stone treads with timber newels, balusters, strings etc.; to landings, mixture of raking pedimented doorpieces, segmentally pedimented doorpieces and pilastered segmentally-arched openings.
Part of the Calton A-Group.
In 1880, 5 Carlton Terrace was extensively remodelled by John McLachlan for D. Bernard Esq. The most major alterations involved the addition of the attic storey (the plans show that it was originally intended to retain the balustraded parapet, but this was removed in actual execution of the scheme). This new storey included plans for a large billiard room, top-lit by a cupola (2nd floor, rear room NE). Other alterations included the removal of the original cast-iron stair balusters, and the addition of timber balusters, panels etc. The plasterwork, cavetto cornice, panelling and chimneypiece of the dining room are characteristic of the style of the 1880s, as are the doorpieces on the landings; it is also likely that the wall dividing the lobby and the room to its left was slapped through around this time.
Carlton Terrace forms part of the showpiece of Playfair's Eastern New Town (or Calton) scheme, and as such is an important example of the work of one of Scotland's leading early 19th century architects. Playfair was one of the major driving forces of the Greek Revival in Edinburgh at this time, and his public commissions such as the National Monument, the Royal Institution and the National Gallery (see separate listings) gave strength to Edinburgh's reputation as the Athens of the North. The Calton Scheme was one of his few domestic commissions, and the variety of designs, different for each street, demonstrates Playfair's expertise with the Grecian style and his characteristic punctilious attention to detail. The railings are important as their design features distinctive elements which Playfair repeated in large areas of the Calton scheme.
The origins of the Eastern 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, Stark's former pupil, to plan a scheme following his master'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 triangular development of the three single-sided terraces (to make the most of the spectacular views), Royal, Regent and Carlton (originally known as Carlton Place, named after the Prince Regent's Carlton House in London), 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, Windsor Street and the west side of Hillside Crescent being built fairly swiftly. Carlton Terrace was marked out in plots in 1826, and building began slowly the following year; the majority of houses were not complete until the 1830s. Meanwhile, demand for the feus in other streets of the scheme faltered severely, due to the growing popularity of new properties being built to the west of the New Town. This had a particularly bad effect on Royal Terrace, where construction stopped for 20 years, leaving 2 large gaps in the Terrace and a further 3 unbuilt feus to the west end. The fate of the whole 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. The result of all these problems was that very little of Playfair's original scheme was ever built. When building resumed in the 1880s, some of Playfair's original street lines were adhered to, as was the case with Hillside Crescent, and in others such as Brunton Place, 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.
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