Circa 1780s. A 4-storey with dormered attic and basement, rectangular plan terraced row of tenements (now used as offices). It is constructed from ashlar sandstone with long and short quoins to the corners. Nos 23, 24 and 25 have a channelled ashlar ground floor and basement. The rear and side elevation is rubble sandstone. The bays flanking the doorway of No 18 have Venetian windows to each floor with Y-tracery glazing. There is a pair of entrances at No. 18 all set in a segmental arched recessed, and the left hand doorway of this pair is blind. The entrances doors of Nos. 20 and 21 have Roman Doric columned doorpieces linked by continuous entablature. The doorpieces to the entrances of Nos. 17 and 19 have a cornice supported on Roman Doric columns. There are a variety of round arched and flat-arched entrances with fanlights. The third floor windows of No. 19 have decorative cast iron window boxes and there are some decorative cast iron window boxes to the rear elevation. The rear elevation has evenly spaced 2-bay gables with stacks breaking the wallhead and the end bays are full height, 2-window, bowed bays.
The windows are predominantly 12-pane glazing in sash and case timber frames. The roofs have grey slates and there are wide, corniced ridge stacks with cyclindrical cans. There are entrance platts oversailing the basement and low coped walled with cast iron railings.
The interior was partially seen in 2015 and 2016 and comprises flats arranged around a stone staircase with a plain balustrade and lit by a square cupola, as well as main door ground and basement flats. The Venetian windows have moulded timber surrounds with the central round arched window flanked by fluted Doric pilasters. Some principal rooms and entrance halls have decorative cornices and timber panelling to a dado. There are some flat arched buffet niches with fluted Corinthian pilasters and a decorative frieze. The windows predominantly have shutters and many of the doors are panelled.
Statement of Special Interest
Dating to the 1780s, 17-25 Buccleuch Place are important and early examples of classically proportioned terraced tenements, forming part of a later 18th century urban planning scheme by prominent architect James Brown. Situated in the south side of Edinburgh, these 5-storey buildings, together with the other listed tenements in Buccleuch Place, form an imposing street elevation of some pretension, which has not been significantly altered. Constructed in the then fashionable classical style, they are built from finely jointed ashlar, have evenly spaced bays and good classical details including doorpieces and bowed bays to the rear.
Buccleuch Place was laid out by James Brown as a continuation of his scheme for George Square. Brown purchased the lands of Ross House in 1761 and his formal feuing plan, which shows Buccleuch Place is dated 1779. Whilst the feuing of George Square began in 1776, thereby preceding this plan, the first feus in Buccleuch Place were taken out in 1779 and the tenements are understood to date from 1780 onwards.
James Brown (1729-1807) was the second son of a William Brown of Lindsaylands, a Commissioner of Supply. Nothing is yet known of James Brown's training but as the son of a landed gentleman, he may have had a scholarly rather than a practical training, and may have relied on pattern books in his early designs. Brown developed the areas around George Square in the 1780s and was involved in various projects such as the Riding School and the development of South Bridge. He was one of the trustees engaged to ensure that the Act of Parliament for building South Bridge and the wide range of improvements connected with this were carried out.
This part of Edinburgh became the new residential centre of the city, preceding the New Town, as it was this development that drew aristocratic and wealthy families from their cramped houses in the Old Town. The properties of Buccleuch Place have been the homes of many notable personalities, as well as being associated with the recreational activities of the residents of George Square by the George Square Assembly Rooms which was to the rear of Nos. 14-16 Buccleuch Place. Among its first residents was Elizabeth Fairley, the Dowager of George, 5th Lord Reay, who died in Buccleuch Place on the 10 November 1800.
Buccleuch Place was laid out to complement and to be at least as grand as George Square although it reverted to the traditional tenements style of housing. Apart from George Square, The Old Edinburgh Club described Buccleuch Place in 1948 as "perhaps the most ambitious of James Brown's building schemes" (Old Edinburgh Club, p.27).
In conjunction with its redevelopment of George Square the University of Edinburgh began buying up properties on Buccleuch Place for use as departmental offices and tutoring rooms from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The terrace previously comprised 4 separate listings LB28387 (category A), LB28388 (category B), LB28389 (category B) and LB28390 (category B). These listings have been merged into one under LB28387 at category B and the statutory listing address and the listed building record will be amended. The category of listing for 17-19 Buccleuch Place has changed from A to B.
Previously listed as 'Buccleuch Place 17-19', 'Buccleuch Place 20, 21', 'Buccleuch Place 22, 22a' and 'Buccleuch Place 23-25'.
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016.
Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 123517
Ainslie, J. (1784) A plan of the city and suburbs of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: John Ainslie.
Ainslie, J. (1804) Old and New Town of Edinburgh and Leith with the proposed docks. Edinburgh: John Ainslie.
Brown, T. and Watson, J. (1793) Edinburgh, this plan of the city including all the latest improvements. Edinburgh: Brown and Watson.
Arnot, H (1816) the History of Edinburgh from the Earliest Accounts to the Year 1780. Edinburgh: Thomas Turnbull. p.249.
Caledonian Mercury (09 April 1783) "George Square Assembly Rooms" p.1.
Caledonian Mercury (15 January 1785) "George Square Assembly Rooms" p.1.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey at http://www.britannica.com/biography/Francis-Jeffrey-Lord-Jeffrey (accessed 21/10/2015).
Gifford, J. McWilliam, C. and Walker, D. (2003) Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh. London: Yale University Press. p.250-251.
Grant, J. (1885) Cassell s Old and New Edinburgh. London. Volume 3. p. 148 and 347.
Old Edinburgh Club (1948). The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club for the Years 1946 and 1947. Volume 26. Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable Ltd. p.27-32.
Dictionary of Scottish Architects: http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=404322 [accessed 04/04/2016]
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