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Latitude: 55.9563 / 55°57'22"N
Longitude: -3.1736 / 3°10'24"W
OS Eastings: 326822
OS Northings: 674315
OS Grid: NT268743
Mapcode National: GBR 8SD.NB
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.7K16
Entry Name: 8 Carlton Terrace Including Railings and Boundary Walls
Listing Date: 16 December 1965
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397357
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49750
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.
E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to basement (painted), modern timber door with 3-light fanlight beneath platt; windows to remaining bays. To ground floor, to 3rd bay from left, steps and platt overarching basement recess leading to 2-leaf timber-panelled door with triple-circle glazed rectangular fanlight.
W (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-bay elevation.
GLAZING etc: predominantly 12-pane glazing; 15-pane glazing to 1st floor to front elevation; glazing predominantly in timber sash and case windows. Double-pitched roof with central valley; graded grey slate; stone skews and skewputts. To front, mutual rendered stack to left, mutual ashlar stack with canted front to right; to rear, rendered mutual stack to left, part rendered stack to right; all stacks corniced with octangular and circular cans. Some cast-iron rainwater goods.
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, good plasterwork, 2 pilastered basket-arched openings to far end; to former dining room, corniced and pilastered doorpieces, good plasterwork including ceiling rose, shallow-relief decoration below dado, non-original chimneypiece; to rear room (N), apsidal ended room, painted stone classical chimneypiece; good plasterwork; predominantly simple plasterwork to remainder of ground floor. To 1st floor: to former drawing room, good plasterwork including ceiling rose, corniced and pilastered doorpieces; rear room (S), apsidal ended room, grey marble classical chimneypiece, good plasterwork; predominantly simple plasterwork to remainder of 1st floor. To stairs and stair hall: circular cupola in sail-vaulted well; stone stairs with cast-iron balusters; some good plasterwork to landings and stair hall.
Part of the Calton A-Group.
No 8 was first inhabited in 1832 by James Smith, a lamp and oil merchant.
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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