David Bryce, 1867-9; Sir Robert Rowland Anderson 1879-61. Broad-plan Roman Baroque church with later Venetian tower on prominent corner site. Ashlar with narrow vermiculated bands to tower base. Deep smooth ashlar base course and moulded cill course. Giant Order Corinthian columns to NW, SW and SE corners. Paired Doric columns flanking main entrance with divided segmental pediment above, 4-stage tower with octagonal belfry. Large keystones to windows; Gibbs surrounds to windows at W. Deep eaves with dentilled, consoled cornice. Ashlar parapets, balustraded to S. Gibbsian classical interior.
S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: square-plan tower incorporated into SW corner, advanced to left, corniced window at ground, tall round headed window at 1st floor. Plinths supporting wrought iron urns flanking central pedimented doorway, 4 round-headed arcade windows above; Giant Order on advanced plinths. Corniced tripartite window at ground floor, round headed 1st floor windows.
W (STAFFORD STREET) ELEVATION: 7 bays arranged 1-4-1-1. Advanced outer bays with Giant Order Corinthian columns on ashlar plinths. Further bay to right (SW) incorporating tower base. Square headed Gibbsian 1st floor windows. Door to right flanked by paired pilasters, segemental pediment above. Round-headed Gibbsian windows at 2nd floor. Raised single storey stone porch to left re-entrant angle abutting apse (N).
N (QUEENSFERRY STREET LANE) ELEVATION: advanced apse, architraved and keystoned circular window, rose pattern glazing.
TOWER: 4-stage tower springing from corner bays of S and W elevations. Corniced and pedimented 2-storey 1st stage with clock face to S and W. Keystone to centre with carved detail of face. Pilastered 2nd stage with foliate entablature and dentilled cornice to top. Open 3rd stage with balustrade to base. Foliate entablature and dentilled cornice with balustrade above, urns to corners. Octagonal belfry with round arched openings; cornice to pyramidal copper roof.
Predominantly large 8 pane timber in sash and case windows. Delicate cast-iron urns to entrance and cast-iron lamp with large glass bowl to W elevation. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: Gibbsian classical interior detailed in wood and iron. Entrance hall to front (now containing café, as of 2008) split level, with stairwells to left and right topped by large cupolas; later lift in stairwell to left. Paired columns to right and left marking original rear wall of hall, screen of Corinthian columns with timber and glass partition beyond giving access to large barrel vaulted hall to rear. 2-storey with U-plan gallery at 1st floor level. Central coffered barrel vault with further barrel vaults abutting to sides. Vaults supported by consoled brackets to side and slim fluted Corinthian columns to gallery with ivy leaf decoration; similar plainer columns directly beneath taking load to ground. Apse to N end with Composite Order; semi-dome with large splayed coffers arranged around circular rose window. Triangular open pediment above. Later organ casings to left and right at gallery level. Full-height round-arched windows to sides. Timber pews with scrolled arms to both ends arranged in U-plan mirroring that of gallery above. Carved timber font in front of entrance to hall. Timber communion table to centre with freestanding lectern behind on small raised platform. Further stepped platforms to apse; large timber organ console with elaborate scroll work and sunken panels to centre.
Statement of Special Interest
St George's West church is a significant church building with well articulated Baroque details and a large tower which dominates the surrounding streetscape and forms a significant part of the skyline. It was originally known as Free St.George's Church.
The church was designed by David Bryce and was built according to his design to the level of the clock. The original Bryce parts of the church are an excellent example of his confidence with Roman Baroque detailing, and the interior is a fine example of the way the classical language can be articulated in wood and iron. The original design of a three stage open tower with giant order Corithian columns was not built. Robert Rowand Anderson completed the design only 10 years later (1879-81) with a Venetian design based on the spire of San Giorgio Maggiore, one of Palladio's most recognisable spire designs. Anderson's near contemporary contribution to St. George's West was in harmony with Bryce's design. Using San Giorgio as the model would indicate Anderson's wish to complement in date and design Bryce's Baroque interior.
The first major addition was the organ in 1897 filling the two windows to either side of the apse. In 1930 the organ was rebuilt and a hall built out over a neighbouring building to the east, the entrance to which was through to final window of the gallery on the east side. The hall is now no longer owned by the church. The entrance was changed in 1976 with the rear wall of the hall removed and replaced with a glass sliding screen further forward and the side stairwells were walled in. There have been several alterations to the lay out of the pews, which no longer conform to the original plan of straight rows running all the way to the back wall on the ground floor.
(Category changed from B to A and list description revised 2009 as part of re-survey)
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1893-94); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 363; Youngson, The Companion Guide to Edinburgh and the Borders, (2001); West End Community Trust, Edinburgh's West End, A Short History (1984); V Fiddes, A Rowan, Mr david Bryce, 1803-76, (1976 Exhibition), p 54; http://www.stgeorgeswest.com/ (Accessed 22/2/08).
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Printed: 18/01/2019 22:33