Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

GEORGE IV BRIDGE AND 11A AND 11C MERCHANT STREET, AUGUSTINE UNITED FREE CHURCH (UNITED REFORMED CHURCH)LB26707

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
14/12/1970
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25706 73380
Coordinates
325706, 673380

Description

J, J M and W H Hay, (Liverpool) 1857-61. Symmetrical, freestyle, nave and flanking aisles church with distinctive central, slightly advanced, 3-stage square-plan entrance tower to W (George IV Bridge), surmounted by 3 tiered octagonal lanterns with metal weathervane at apex. 6-bay elevation to Merchant Street (N) with 2-storey basement. Sandstone ashlar, rock-faced to 2 basement levels. Roll-moulded base course, band courses, string course, blocking course. Pilaster strips with Egyptian motif divide bays. Predominantly round-arched window openings with some rectangular tripartite openings to N. Segmental-arched openings to ground at N with off-centre pend.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Entrance elevation to W with central buttressed and corbelled tower with round-arched entrance doorway with pointed smooth and carved voussoirs and recessed entrance door. 4-light geometric tracery window above and 2-light louvred openings to 3rd stage. 3 centrally-placed tiered octagonal lanterns above with decorative filigree metal balustrade to 2nd tier. Decorative stone balustrade to tower with 8 square-plan stone pinnacles surmounted by ornamental curved pinnacles with fine ornate metalwork finials.

Predominantly 2 and 4-light geometric tracery windows with some plate glass timber sash and case windows to N. Some fixed pane glazing. Grey slates.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Simple, white-washed 5-bay with timber gallery to 3 sides and central, tall, timber round-arch to E wall. Decorative cast-iron columns support gallery and some roof framework. Flat roof, with hammerbeam roof believed to be in situ above.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such.

Augustine Church is a richly decorated, distinctive and unusual building, composed of an eclectic mixture of architectural styles, and with a particularly idiosyncratic squat tower. The mixture of Romanesque, Renaissance and Classical motifs combine to produce a remarkable building which adds significantly to the streetscape of the area. The square-plan tower with 3 octagonal tiers and prominent and decorative iron-work is particularly striking. The Church, with its entrance on George IV Bridge, is typical of central Edinburgh buildings in having 2 basement levels below the level of George IV bridge, making effective use of the differing heights of the streets in this part of the city.

This church was originally a Congregational Church, built as a replacement for a chapel which was demolished circa 1855 to make way for the Royal Museum in Chambers Street (see separate listing). The previous chapel became too small and the congregation purchased land on George IV Bridge for this church at a cost of £900. The building was expensive to construct and incurred more expense when the roof began to collapse during the erection of the building. The architect David Bryce was consulted to suggest a solution and he suggested the cast-iron pillars which were inserted to prevent any further bulging of the walls. The church was opened on 8th November 1861. The newly built church was of some interest to the people of Edinburgh and its unusual architectural style brought a mixed response with one Professor Blackie likening the spire to a Wedding cake.

J, J M and W H Hay (practice circa 1848-61) were an architect firm of 3 brothers based in Liverpool but whose output was largely confined to Scotland and the North of England.. They received commissions for predominantly Free Churches and Schools and built often on the Gothic style. This church is seen as a departure from their usual style.

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.

References

Bibliography

2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1876-7). John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p148-9. Charles McKean, Edinburgh, An Illustrated Architectural Guide, 1992, p50. The Challenge of our Heritage, Augustine United Church, 2005 p13. Scottish Dictionary of Architects at www.codexgeo.co.uk (accessed 22-05-07)

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see www.historicenvironment.scot. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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