David Cousin, 1842; J Dick Peddie, 1845 and 1862; extended to N in 1905. Approximately 11 hectares; irregular-plan cemetery with terrace, steps, serpentine paths, river-side walk, catacombs and neo-Tudor bridge, containing important architectural and sculptural monuments, including memorials to several illustrious citizens.
CATACOMBS: designed by David Cousin in 1842 and extended to E and W by J Dick Peddie in 1862. Long wall of grey sandstone ashlar with bays containing wall monuments grouped 4-1-13-1-4, divided by buttresses; projecting base course; wallhead cornice; blocking course to parapet; small shield-shaped openings in wall, some with metal grilles intact, to light and ventilate vaults, which are also lit from larger semicircular grilles in walkway above. Hoodmoulded Tudor-arched entrances to vaults (now bricked up) in centre bay, and in advanced bays 5th from left and right which have polygonal angle piers decorated with cusped tracery frieze beneath cornice.
EXAMPLES OF NOTABLE MONUMENTS: John Dick Peddie, for his father, Reverend James Peddie, minister of the Bristo Church (died 1845), Doric canopied pedestal (previously containing an urn), roof decorated with antefixes; James Drummond, for the landscape painter Horatio McCulloch (died 1867), Celtic cross with artist's palette and brushes with laurel wreath on one side of pedestal, little dog on the other; memorial to Sir James Young Simpson, beside his family obelisk; memorial to the sculptor John Rhind (died 1892). Mural monuments, many the draped urns characteristic of this period, line the walls of the cemetery.
BRIDGE: J Dick Peddie, 1845. Roll-moulded entrances to Tudor-arched bridge forming a subway linking N and S sections of cemetery under the former Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway line (now a cycle-track). Grey sandstone ashlar. Coped stepped parapet, with blank heraldic panel and cusped tracery to SE; 4 engaged polygonal piers with quatrefoil panels to bridge; smaller polygonal newel piers with stepped pyramidal caps, 2 to NW, 6 to SE, linked by walls with saddle-backed coping, those to SE with quatrefoil decoration.
BOUNDARY WALLS: high coped rubble boundary walls; decorative cast-iron 2-leaf gates (some details missing) and gatepiers with chamfered corners and platformed stepped pyramidal caps to Warriston Road. Damaged polygonal gatepiers (relocated) to N.
Retaining walls; extension at each end of Cousins' wall 1862
Statement of Special Interest
Founded in 1842 by the Edinburgh Cemetery Company (of which James Peddie WS, brother of John Dick Peddie, was a director), and known as The Edinburgh Cemetery, Warriston was one of a number of commercial cemeteries laid out in the mid 19th century by David Cousin. The Prospectus explains that 'the spread of education, and the dissemination of works of art and science... have led all classes to desire that the style, situation and the whole arrangement of Public Burial Grounds should be improved.' 'To the advantage of ground admirably adapted for the purpose, and laid out in a pleasing and appropriate manner,' were to be added 'greater facilities for all classes, especially the Poor,' and 'reduced expenses.' A mortuary chapel (demolished by 1930) for the use of the Episcopalian community (for which drawings are in the Peddie and Kinnear archive in NMRS) was erected on the terrace above the catacombs. Drawings in the Peddie archive in NMRS indicate that the steps from the terrace in the SE corner were also designed by Peddie.
A white marble gothic shrine with ruby glass windows lighting a recumbent female figure (Mary Ann Robertson [died 1858], daughter of Brigadier-General Manson of the Bombay Artillery), described in BUILDINGS OF EDINBURGH, has sadly been destroyed by vandals.
The cemetery has suffered a period of severe vandalism, which seems largely to have come to an end (1999). Its overgrown and neglected state, while contributing to an atmosphere of romantic melancholy, contributes also to its continuing deterioration, while invasive species threaten the remains of the original planting.