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Lady Haig Poppy Factory (former McLagan and Cumming print works), Edinburgh

A Category C Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9656 / 55°57'56"N

Longitude: -3.1982 / 3°11'53"W

OS Eastings: 325302

OS Northings: 675377

OS Grid: NT253753

Mapcode National: GBR 8M9.N0

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.VB72

Plus Code: 9C7RXR82+6P

Entry Name: Lady Haig Poppy Factory (former McLagan and Cumming print works), Edinburgh

Listing Name: Lady Haig Poppy Factory (former McLagan and Cumming print works), 9 Warriston Road, including boundary wall and railings to the north and excluding the adjoining late-20th century two-storey, flat-roo

Listing Date: 30 July 2019

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407202

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52516

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Leith Walk

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

A former printing and lithographic works including offices, workshops and chimney, dating from the early 1890s and designed in a simple Scots Renaissance revival style. Built for McLagan and Cumming, the print works are located on Warriston Road on the southern bank of the Water of Leith. Roughly rectangular in plan, the 1890s block is abutted by a long rectangular-plan addition to the west, dating from around 1925. The principal elevation is ashlar red sandstone. The remaining building is constructed of polychromatic brick and includes an octagonal-plan chimney that projects from a roof towards the rear.

The windows are a mixture of single and two-pane timber sash and case and non-traditional replacements. The 1925 block has ten-pane metal-framed windows at the ground floor of the principal (north) elevation and non-traditional uPVC replacement windows across the remainder. The slate roofs are predominantly pitched or piended with a number of roof lights including those spanning the length of the former machine room and drying room.

The interior was seen in 2018. Internally the 1890s block includes a series of offices at the north with the former machine room, drying room and chimney to the south. The interior of the 1925 addition to the west contains former litho preparation rooms on the ground floor and the former recreation hall and design studios on the first floor have been subdivided to form a board room and offices with lowered ceilings. The interior of the 1890s offices are plainly detailed with simple cornicing and panelled window surrounds. The former machine room is open-plan and retains its early flooring, cast iron pillars and exposed metal roof trusses.

A low red sandstone boundary wall with painted iron railings and gates surrounds the entrance of the principal (north) elevation on Warriston Road.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the adjoining late-20th century two-storey, flat-roofed offices to the southwest and the flat-roofed, covered entrance corridor to the south.

Historical development

The McLagan and Cumming printing firm was established in 1872 and moved premises from Carrubber's Close, High Street, Edinburgh to the site on Warriston Road in 1891.

The printing works do not appear on Bart's Post Office map of 1891 and can be first seen on the Ordnance Survey large scale town plan of 1894. It therefore appears that the original printworks building was built in the early 1890s, between 1891 and 1894. Aside from this, the footprint depicted on the Ordnance Survey large scale town plan of 1894 survives today, with later additions.

Plans from 1899 detail a large proposed extension to the existing printing works on the southeast side by architect William C. Laidlaw, Edinburgh. This extension fronted the 'New Road', later called 'Logie Green Road' and contained a new machine room, drying room and artist's room.

Around this time in the early 20th century, the area around the printworks was developing fast and neighbouring print works, Waterston's Printing Works, was built in 1902 designed by John Breingan (LB45962).

Further additions were made to the northeast side of the printing works in 1911 which brought this corner of the building forward to Logie Green Road. This extension later became the premises for 'Thistle Cash and Carry Ltd' in the 1960s. It was demolished in the later 20th century (after 1976 and before 1989) and two new residential blocks now stand on the Logie Green Road elevation.

In 1925 the long rectangular-plan, two-storey addition was made to the western side of the printing works and survives as part of the current building (2019). This contained a lithography preparing room and lithography artist room on the ground floor and recreation hall and design studio on the first floor. The gabled main elevation of this addition, which is topped with finials and built of red sandstone, was designed to be in keeping with the late 19th century façade.

A single-storey, rectangular-plan addition to the south of the site housing a plant and storage was designed by Rowand Anderson, Kininmonth & Paul in 1958 and also remains as part of the building.

The printworks closed around the early 1960s and in 1965, the Lady Haig Poppy Factory moved here, from its premises in Panmure Close, 127 Canongate. The Lady Haig Poppy Factory was established in 1926, employing men who had been disabled during the First World War to make poppies for Scotland, which were sold to help veterans with employment and housing. The building remains in use as such today (2019).

In the later 20th century the 1899 extension to the southeast and the 1911 extension to the northeast of the print works were demolished. A flatted development bordering Logie Green Road, visible on the Ordnance Survey map (10,000) of 1989, was built on the site of these former extensions.

Statement of Interest

Lady Haig Poppy Factory, 9 Warriston Road meets the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the adjoining late-20th century two-storey, flat-roofed offices to the southwest and the flat-roofed, covered entrance corridor to the south.

Architectural interest

Design

The McLagan and Cumming print works is typical of small industrial buildings (including print works) of the period, which usually consist of a low-rise workshop fronted by offices (as seen here). Compared with many contemporary print works in Edinburgh however, the McLagan and Cumming buildings were relatively small in scale.

The principal elevation of the former print works is designed in a simple Scots Renaissance revival style with shield motifs and finials. A range of architectural styles were used for print works in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. A grand Scots Baronial style featuring crowstepped gables and turrets was used for the frontage of Thomas Nelson s Parkside Printworks on Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh designed by John Lessels in 1880 (now demolished). An Italianate style was used for the former Edina Works at 21-27 Edina Place (Odd Numbers), built in 1878 (LB30271) and neighbouring Waterston s Printing Works, John Breingan, 1902 (LB45962).

The principal elevation is built of sandstone with the workshop buildings and chimney to the rear built of brick. The interwar publication on the McLagan and Cumming printers notes that the stone frontage, "…is superior to, and built in a style certainly not connected with accepted notions of a printing works elsewhere…". A number of print works in Edinburgh were built using only brick, which is a cheaper material than sandstone and was commonly used for large industrial buildings.

Although simple compared with the more architecturally ambitious offices of these larger print works, the stonework detailing and the irregular W profile of the principal elevation distinguishes the architectural design of this otherwise simple industrial building. The principal (north) elevation is largely unaltered since the addition of the two-storey extension to the west in 1925. The only changes have been the removal of a wallhead chimney stack from the centre of the elevation at some point after the interwar period and the insertion of uPVC windows at the first floor.

The architects of the original early 1890s section and the 1925 section (both of which make up the majority of the surviving building today) are unknown. Particular effort was made to match the materials and style of the 1925 addition, with the existing 1890s principal elevation, creating a grand and coherent frontage.

Architect William Carruthers Laidlaw (1864-1941) designed the extension at the southeast of the works building in 1899, however this was demolished in the later 20th century and very little fabric from this building period remains. The Dictionary of Scottish Architects also notes that architect Alexander Hunter Crawford Architect carried out the extension to the northeast of the building in 1912 however no fabric from this section appears to remain.

The interiors of the front offices are simply decorated, retaining cornicing and window panelling from the late 19th century decorative scheme. The largest room of the works section of the building, the former machine room, retains late 19th century cast iron pillars, roof trusses and struts. The remaining factory rooms, lithography preparing room and paper store are typically sparse and functional with painted brick walls and concrete floors. The former machine rooms and drying rooms retain roof lights which span the length of the space.

The plan form of the former print works is typical of the building type in the early 1890s and has remained largely unaltered since the later 19th century with offices located at the front of the building and large open machine rooms behind. Other facilities to support the printing remain to the rear of the building and include drying rooms and the chimney.

The former McLagan and Cumming print works retains a substantial amount of fabric from the original early 1890s building including the front offices, works rooms and chimney. The plan form and interior features are also well retained and the structure has a high level of completeness which adds to its significance in listing terms.

Setting

The former print works is located in the Broughton area to the north of Edinburgh city centre and is in close proximity to the Water of Leith which passes to the north and west of the site.

The immediate setting of the building has been partially altered with the addition of the 20th century offices to the south of the building and the development of flats to the east on Logie Green Road in the later 20th century. Approaching from the south along Logie Green Road the print works are somewhat obscured although the chimney can be seen through a gap in the housing development.

To the north and west however, the building s 19th to early 20th century industrial setting is well retained. The frontage of the former print works is set beside the Warriston Road Railway Bridge (LB27954) of 1841 and the two structures are prominent features along this stretch of the Water of Leith walkway. The chimney, a once common but now rare feature of the Edinburgh skyline, is visible in views from Warriston Road and Warriston Road Railway Bridge (now a public path). Together with the neighbouring G Waterson & Sons works offices to the east (LB45962) this area represents the industry that formerly existed along the banks of the Water of Leith in late 19th and early 20th centuries. This industrial use included a number of mills (for corn, barley and paper), distilleries and various gas and print works.

The setting of the building, particularly around the principal (north) elevation by Warriston Road, therefore adds to the special interest of the building by contributing to our understanding of the area s industrial history.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

Edinburgh would come increasingly to dominate the Scottish printing trade in the 19th and earlier 20th centuries, employing the greatest number of people predominantly in large independently owned family organisations.

The prosperity of the industry later in the 19th century led to the establishment of new printing companies as well as the expansion and relation of existing firms with new premises. Print works in Edinburgh were historically based around the closes and lanes of the Old and latterly New Towns. As the trade progressed in the 19th century and machinery advanced, these sites and buildings became too small and inadequate. As a result this period saw the construction of large new print works buildings on open sites on the fringes of the city. For example Edinburgh printers Morrison and Gibb moved from premises in Thistle Street to Tanfield in 1887 and Thomas Nelson and Sons (following a fire) constructed a huge new offices and works, Parkside Works on Dalkeith road in 1878 (both buildings were demolished in the later 20th century).

It is in this context of the later 19th century that the firm of McLagan and Cumming was established, opening in Carruber s Close, High Street in 1872 and moving to the new premises in Warriston Road in 1891. Warriston Road soon became a popular area for expanding printing industry with the firm of printers and stationers G Waterson & Sons of George Street and Hanover Street moving to new building there in 1902.

Built from the early 1890s during the height of the printing trade in Scotland, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the former McLagan and Cumming print works is not an early example of the building type. However, once commonplace, surviving print works buildings of all periods are now rare. From large to small premises such as warehouse buildings or offices, only a small number of buildings connected to printing survive and a smaller number are listed buildings (around 15 in Scotland).

In Edinburgh, a number of the office buildings of former print works survive however at the majority of these sites the works buildings and chimneys at the rear have been demolished and the offices converted to residential accommodation. The former McLagan and Cumming print works is therefore a rare example of the building type in retaining both its front offices, works buildings and chimney to the rear.

Social historical interest

The decline of printing in the second half of the 20th century led to the loss of much of the associated built fabric as many works were converted and demolished.

The survival of the early 1890s works at 9 Warriston Road, including the machine rooms and chimney, contributes to our understanding of the substantial scale of the printing industry in Edinburgh during this period.

As one of the most complete examples of a late 19th century print works, the building is of social and economic interest for what it can tell us about this large industry and employer in Edinburgh in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The longstanding use of the building since 1965 as the Lady Haig Poppy Factory, the sole site of the manufacture of poppies and wreaths for Scotland s annual Poppy Appeal, is also of social historical interest.

Association with people or events of national importance

There is no association with a person or event of national importance. However there is a local historical association with the artist and printmaker, Tom Curr (1887-1958), who had a longstanding connection to the printmakers building and was also a founding member of the Lady Haig Poppy Factory committee.

Other Information

The former McLagan and Cumming print works has served as the premises for the Lady Haig Poppy Factory since 1965. The Lady Haig Poppy Factory was established in 1926, employing men who had been disabled during the First World War to make poppies for Scotland which were sold to help veterans with employment and housing. The building continues to be used to manufacture all merchandise for the annual Poppy Appeal in Scotland with its workforce almost entirely comprised of disabled ex-service personnel. The Poppy Factory continues to use some of the cutting machinery left when McLagan and Cumming vacated the building in the 1960s to manufacture the merchandise for the appeal (information provided by proposer 2018).

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