Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

EAST PRINCES STREET GARDENS, SCOTT MONUMENT WITH RETAINING WALL AND STEPSLB27829

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
14/12/1970
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25585 73904
Coordinates
325585, 673904

Description

George Meikle Kemp, 1840-4. Tall gothic monument (61m), 5-tiered spire on arched base supported by diagonal flying buttresses on terrace (widened to accommodate the Monument). Binny sandstone. Crocketted pinnacles; quatrefoil decoration; gargoyles. Statue, Sir John Steell, 1846: Carrara marble; seated figure of Sir Walter Scott, wrapped in Border plaid, with his deerhound Maida, on low plinth. Smaller statues in gothic canopied niches (characters from Scott's novels and Scottish poets). Polygonal Gothic timber ticket office to SW with slated conical roof, Tudor-arched leaded stained glass windows and crocketted timber parapet.

INTERIOR: spiral staircase in SW pier leading to galleries; carved, timber-panelled, vaulted museum room with stained glass windows (see Notes) at 1st floor.

RETAINING WALL AND STEPS: trefoil-pierced balustrade, moulded hand-rail and corniced piers to 2 pairs of stone steps.

Statement of Special Interest

Following Scott's death in 1832 money was raised by public subscription to build a suitable memorial. A competition in 1838 to design a memorial (in which the Gothic style was specified) was won by George Meikle Kemp (previously an assistant to William Burn). Kemp had studied Scottish Gothic architecture, making drawings for a book on the subject, and the design for the monument was based on 'the purity of taste and style of Melrose Abbey.' The monument was originally to have been placed in Charlotte Square. The foundation stone was laid on 15th August, 1840. Kemp was drowned in 1844, and the Monument was completed by Thomas Bonnar (Kemp's brother-in-law). Stained glass windows in the museum room were designed by David Roberts and executed by James Ballantine. Edinburgh Town Council became responsible for the site of East Princes Street Gardens in 1776. William Sawrey Gilpin was paid for a model and plan of a design for the area, but nothing came of it until 1829 when, under the supervision of Thomas Brown, some groundworks were done and an ornamental terrace, originally proposed by Playfair, was built along the Princes Street side. Planting of trees and shrubs was laid out for the terrace and slopes by Patrick Neill in 1830. The terrace was widened to accommodate the Scott Monument (1836-46). David Cousin 1849-50 (after construction of railway) terrace with stone balustrade, and further after the extension of Waverley Station W of Waverley Bridge in 1892.

References

Bibliography

Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) vol ii p 126. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 314-316. Pearson (ed) VIRTUE AND VISION: SCULPTURE AND SCOTLAND 1540-1990 (1991) p74-5.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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