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Braid Hills Hotel excluding the linking block and 1-6 Pentland Terrace to the south, the single-storey addition to the west and the detached former stable block to the east, 134 Braid Road, Edinburgh

A Category C Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9171 / 55°55'1"N

Longitude: -3.2126 / 3°12'45"W

OS Eastings: 324308

OS Northings: 669996

OS Grid: NT243699

Mapcode National: GBR 8JV.RC

Mapcode Global: WH6SS.MJDR

Entry Name: Braid Hills Hotel excluding the linking block and 1-6 Pentland Terrace to the south, the single-storey addition to the west and the detached former stable block to the east, 134 Braid Road, Edinburgh

Listing Date: 21 January 2020

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407309

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52543

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Parish: Edinburgh

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

A two-storey and attic, hotel (1893-94 with 1898 additions) in the Scots Baronial style, designed by George Lyle and William Constable for the Braid Hills Hotel Company. Prominently sited at the foot of the Braid Hills in the Greenbank area of South Edinburgh, the hotel is constructed of pale, squared sandstone masonry with red sandstone ashlar dressings.

There is an engaged tower with conical cap at the northwest corner of the principal elevation and a similar tower to the west elevation. The advanced gables have stepped corbels, crowstepped skews and ornamental finials. There are carved hood-mouldings to main windows, and modillions at the eaves level. The main entrance to the north elevation has a semi-circular porch. There is a mix of timber-framed and plastic replacement windows. The roof has a covering of grey slate.

The interior (seen 2019) has been refurbished, retaining some elements of its late 19th-century decorative scheme including ornamental cornicing to the ground floor public rooms and principal bedrooms and hardwood doorcases. The main public staircase has timber bannisters and, at the half-landing there are decorative stained-glass windows featuring the 19th century Scottish golfers, Ben Sayers from North Berwick and the Kirkaldy brothers from St Andrews. A secondary stair has a curving hardwood handrail and cast iron bannisters.

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 linking block and 1-6 Pentland Terrace to the south, the single-storey addition to the west and the detached former stable block to the east.

Historical development

The site at the foot of the Braid Hills in Edinburgh was purchased by the Braid Hills Hotel Company in 1893 for the purpose of erecting a hotel, club house, hydropathic establishment or sanatorium thereon (Dundee Courier, 1893). The hotel opened in October 1894, advertising itself as the home of golf with seventeen golf courses within a radius of fourteen miles (South Wales Echo, 1895). After the hotel opened, Braid Road and the surrounding area developed quickly as a suburban outward continuation from South Morningside.

The footprint of the hotel is first shown on John Bartholomew s 1895 Plan of Edinburgh, Leith and Suburbs. The single-storey outshot to the east (with crossed golf clubs) appears from map evidence to have been part of the original design in 1894. This part of the hotel was initially a golf room, with club lockers, serving golfers playing the nearby Braid Hills public golf courses.

A twelve-bedroom extension was added to the south by Lyle and Constable in the Baronial style in 1898. The Edinburgh Suburban Hotels Company was set up in 1900 to sell shares in the Braid Hills Hotel (and the Barnton Hotel near Cramond) to provide capital to meet increasing business demands (Dundee Courier, 1900).

The footprint of the extended hotel is shown on the 3rd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (revised, 1905). Further extensions were added to the south during the 1930s, linking the hotel to neighbouring 1-6 Pentland Terrace. The interiors of this terraced row of houses were remodelled to provide additional hotel accommodation. Historical photographs indicate that the glazed semi-circular porch was added to the front of the hotel after 1932 and before 1955. The hotel currently has 71 bedrooms (2019).

Statement of Interest

The Braid Hills Hotel 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 linking block and 1-6 Pentland Terrace to the south, the single-storey addition to the west and the detached former stable block to the east.

Architectural interest

Design

The purpose-built Braid Hills Hotel is designed to look like a Scottish country house, using the Scots Baronial architectural style. While the popularity of this style was in decline by around 1900, it was used here to capture a recognisable and typically Scottish historical architectural style that would be suitable for a destination hotel promoting sporting and outdoor leisure pursuits. The historicist architectural treatment gives the building a sense of age and grandeur, which was meant to appeal specifically to a golf-playing, tourist clientele. The northwest corner tower is particularly well detailed with castle-like water spouts at the turret and a steeply-pitched conical roof cap. The detailing of the principal elevations remains largely intact.

While the interior scheme in the public spaces and principal bedrooms has been partly remodelled, the surviving features of late 19th century character such as the doorpieces, staircases, decorative cornicing and golf-themed figurative stained glass, add to the special interest.

The architect, George Alexander Lyle (1845-1905) was assistant to Robert Reid Raeburn, continuing in practice as Raeburn & Lyle after Raeburn s death in 1888. By 1895 he had taken William Constable (b.1863) into partnership. Constable was architect for the Grange, Mortonhall, Blackford and Greenbank Estates in Edinburgh. His known work is mostly confined to these areas, and in Musselburgh where he resided. Lyle and Constable also designed the terraced houses on Braid Hills Road (Nos 168-172), Riselaw Road and Pentland Terrrace, and the former Barnton Hotel (LB48508, listed at category C), near Cramond for the Barnton Hotel Company.

Setting

The Braid Hills Hotel is a landmark building in Edinburgh, prominently sited on a levelled site on the lower slopes of the Braid Hills near a popular municipal golf course in the Greenbank area of the city. The suburban residential character and settlement pattern of the hotel s immediate setting has changed little since the mid-20th century.

The hotel is orientated to take advantage of its elevated hillside position, with views of Edinburgh Castle, Arthurs Seat and the Fife hills to the north and east, and the Pentland Hills to the southwest. The distinctive Baronial roofline is visible from various locations across the city. The adjoining terraced row at 1-13A Pentland Terrace (not part of the listing) has a clasping turret at its southwest corner, adding unity to the entire block.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

The Braid Hills Hotel is an early example of a purpose-built suburban hotel in Edinburgh. There are many 19th century hotels in central Edinburgh, the Caledonian Hotel (LB29524) and the Balmoral (North British) Hotel (LB30315) being particularly large and luxurious examples. The absence of hotels on the outskirts of the city before 1900 indicates that to the tourist, Edinburgh was still mainly considered a transit point at that date (Buildings of Scotland, p.71). By the later 19th century, the surrounding areas of Edinburgh were being marketed as destinations in themselves and became increasingly popular.

The Braid Hills Hotel bears comparison with the 1895 former Barnton Hotel (LB48508) by Lyle and Constable on the north side the city. Both hotels initially featured integrated golf club rooms to serve newly established golf courses nearby. In this respect, they may be considered modest forerunners of the large golfing resort hotels established in the 20th century, such as the famous Gleneagles Hotel (LB4570) which opened in Perthshire in 1924.

Social historical interest

The Braid Hills Hotel was built to take advantage of the golf and tourism industry in and around Edinburgh at the end of the 19th century. The numerous nearby golf courses, and the clean mountain air (in what was then still a largely undeveloped part of Edinburgh) were regularly promoted in the hotel s advertising until at least 1925.

The nearby Braid Hills golf course, which opened to the public in 1889, was one of the first municipal golf courses in Scotland. During its early years the Braid Hills Hotel included a golf room with club lockers, and local golf clubs competed for the Braid Hills Hotel Trophy (Glasgow Herald, 1897). The pair of crossed golf clubs on the east gable and the figurative golfing stained-glass windows continue to illustrate the historic link between the hotel and the sport.

The Braid Hills Hotel is briefly mentioned in Muriel Spark s famous Edinburgh-based novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961).

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