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Waverley Telephone Exchange Including Boundary Walls And Ancillary Building, British Telecom, 12 East London Street

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.96 / 55°57'35"N

Longitude: -3.1881 / 3°11'17"W

OS Eastings: 325920

OS Northings: 674746

OS Grid: NT259747

Mapcode National: GBR 8PC.Q0

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.0G4B

Plus Code: 9C7RXR56+XP

Entry Name: Waverley Telephone Exchange Including Boundary Walls And Ancillary Building, British Telecom, 12 East London Street

Listing Name: 12 East London Street, British Telecom, Waverley Telephone Exchange Including Boundary Walls and Ancillary Building

Listing Date: 23 November 2007

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399789

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51018

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

R Saddler, 1964, with later enhancing addition of third floor. Tall 3-storey, 14-bay, rectangular-plan, Modernist telephone exchange with advanced 2-storey, 12-bay, pilastered section to principal elevation. Protruding terrazzo detailed concrete ribbed elements with vertically aligned precast concrete pebble dashed panels to main elevations. Decorative coloured tile panel over former main entrance. Parapet wall railing on posts. Small single storey half sunken boiler room block to rear. Square-roofed access building to SE corner of flat roof. Tiled grid pattern to pavement reflecting main elevation to East London Street. Low, walled gateway to right with integral ancillary building.

Metal windows to lower floors with integral grilles and applied reflective film. Powder-coated metal replacement windows to second floor. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: remains in use as telephone exchange (2007). Plain utilitarian detailing with banks of transformers and cabling to each floor.

Statement of Interest

The Waverley Telephone exchange is a fine, geometrically designed Modernist building, with strong compartmentalised facades, and a significant example of 1960's public architecture in Edinburgh. The building demonstrates the forthright ideals of planning and post-war modern architecture at the time. It makes a strong contribution to the immediate streetscape with it's striking geometry whilst blending well into the overall street scene, with the neighbouring tenement block and Catholic Apostolic Church at the end of the street.

The tiled panel over the former main entrance was made by Malkin-Johnson Tiles, some tiles dating from the earlier Malkin Tile Co. and which can be attributed to the designer Ken Clark MBE. Ken Clark was one of London's most versatile craft potters at the time and was known for collaborating with architects on bespoke designed panels.

Photographs from 1964 show the building as first constructed as 2 floors. The later addition of the third floor with parapet railing is thought to date to the early 1970's. The addition of the third floor transforms the earlier less exceptional design and converts it into a more successful Modernist statement. The third floor must be almost contemporary and may well have been intended from the start. There is no obvious difference in the internal detailing of the stairwell which appears contemporary to the original building as erected in 1964.

R Saddler is believed to be the senior in-house architect for the Post Office at the time.

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