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- Category: A
- Date Added: 14/12/1970
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 2448 7364
- Coordinates: 324480, 673640
J Gillespie Graham, 1823; executed by R Hutchinson 1826-30. 3-storey, 7-bay classical terrace unified townhouse façade with main-door and common stair flats behind; basement area to street including some vaulted cellars and retaining walls. Sandstone ashlar, droved at basement channelled at ground floor. Entrance platts oversailing basement. Base course at ground floor; banded cill courses at 1st and 2nd floors. Corniced eaves course with blocking course over. Doors in round arched surrounds, fanlights with radial glazing. Architraved windows at 1st and 2nd floors (corniced at 1st floor). Cast-iron anthemion balconies at 1st floor.
Predominantly 15-pane and 12-pane in timber sash and case. Double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar gable stacks with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement recess to street.
Statement of Special Interest
A well composed classical terrace with Greek motifs such as anthemion balconies. The composition is well detailed and has been retained largely unaltered with few additions affecting the roof line. The Alva Street terraces were constructed after those in Stafford Street and the 3-storey houses at Nos. 27-31 thus terminate the Alva Street building line. The simple Greek interior scheme which originally featured internally is now no longer evident. The juxtaposition between the earlier terrace in Stafford Street and the later Alva Street work is unusual in the New Town where later phases of development were commonly designed to integrate with earlier developments.
Alva Street lay on land belonging to Lord Alva, who acted as a trustee for James Erskine. The plan for this part of his estate was drawn up by Gillespie Graham, but the land was sold in 1825 to a lawyer, James Stuart. Nothing was done to develop the site, and the land was sold again to a builder (Robert Hutchison) in 1826. It was under his ownership that the street was built to the original Gillespie Graham plan by 1830.
James Gillespie Graham was best known for designing country houses and churches in the Gothic style, and his work was predominantly on Gothic churches and castellated country houses. He produced relatively little classical work, but in addition to Gray's House in Elgin (see separate listing) his most notable work was the Moray Estate. The monumental style of the architecture, in which he was influenced by Adam's Charlotte Square (see separate listing) can also be seen in Alva Street which takes the form of end pavilions flanking a central run of terraced townhouses.
(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1849-53); John Wood, Plan of the City of Edinburgh, including all the latest and intended improvements (1823); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 369; Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600 -1840, (1995).
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