Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24190 74086
324190, 674086


John Chesser, 1860; alterations to No. 8 by Robert Lorimer, 1893; later attic additions. Extensive terrace (crescented at Nos. 11-20) comprising 3-storey and basement, 2-bay Free Renaissance townhouses in alternating pairs of advanced and recessed blocks. Prominent 2-storey, 4-light canted bays with balustraded parapets (to centre on recessed pairs; flanking on advanced pairs). Sandstone ashlar. Entrance platts oversailing basements. Banded base course; banded cill course at 1st floor, moulded at 2nd floor (moulded to canted bays); moulded string course at 2nd floor. Consoled corniced eaves course with balustraded parapet (some parapets now missing). Moulded architraved doorpieces with rectangular fanlights and narrow sidelights; consoled balconies above with cast-iron railings. Moulded architraved surrounds to windows at canted bay. Moulded architraved 1st floor windows with fielded panel and bracketed cornice. Moulded architraved windows at 2nd floor (tripartite above canted bays). Various later dormers at attic; some later ashlar attic storeys.

S (END) ELEVATION: 3 bays, with 2-storey canted bay to right (S) with balustraded parapet. Balustraded parapet integrated with prominent wallhead stack to centre. Moulded architraved ground floor windows with consoled balconies and cast-iron railings. Bracketed and pedimented 1st floor windows. Moulded architraved 2nd floor windows (bi-partite above canted bay) additional narrow rectangular window to right (S) of centre. Moulded architraved window, with stepped string course above, to centre of wallhead stack.

SW (REAR) ELEVATION: 5 storeys; coursed squared rubble with some droved ashlar quoins, rybats, cills and lintels. Roughly regular fenestration with some paired windows at 1st and 2nd floors. Some boundary walls to rear; many integrated with 2-storey mews buildings and some later garages fronting onto Belgrave Crescent Lane.

Plate glass in timber sash and case windows. Corniced ashlar ridge and wallhead stacks with octagonal clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement area to street. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: classical decorative scheme, characterised by intricate plasterwork and large drawing rooms. Large entrance vestibules with cornicing and some pilasters, predominantly timber stairs with carved newel posts, topped by large cupolas with decorative plasterwork beneath. Highly decorative plasterwork and some large marble fire surrounds to ground floor and to 1st floor drawing rooms. Later alterations to No. 8 by Robert Lorimer in 1893 for Lady Chalmers. Later conversion to flats throughout (2009).

Statement of Special Interest

Well proportioned crescent of townhouses with good architectural detailing such as the bay windows. The terrace is sited prominently and the extensive terrace lines one of the key routes into Edinburgh's New Town and makes a significant contribution to streetscape. The terrace is part of the continued development of the West End of Edinburgh in the later 19th century after the completion of the nearby Dean Bridge (see separate listing). The design is a major example of the mid 19th century treatment of urban classical architecture with bold detailing and use of elements like canted bays and tripartite windows.

This terrace was built on land bought by property developer (and Lord Provost of Edinburgh) James Steel, and along with Eglington Crescent (see separate listing) was one of Steel's first exclusive housing developments, after previously developing lower status housing in Tollcross. His relationship with the Heritable Estates Company assured a steady income allowing him to speculate with more exclusive developments. The terrace forms part of the long delayed residential expansion of the city in the late 19th century to the north of the Dean Bridge, following its completion in 1831-2. Unlike the earlier phases of the New Town the terraces of the Dean estate were exclusively of individual affluent family houses with lavish Victorian detailing. Changing social circumstances in the 20th century have led to a degree of alteration and adaptation.

John Chesser began his career as a master of works on the Ravesby Estate in Lincolnshire, before replacing his father in the same post on the Dalmeny estate. By 1852 he was working for David Cousin in the office of the superintendant of works in Edinburgh, and through this office he may have secured his post as superintendant of works for Herriots Hospital. By the time he came to design Belgrave Crescent his Free Renaissance style was fully developed. Many of his terraces are characterised by the use of large bay windows, and particularly by the combination of rectangular and canted storeys.

List description revised as part of resurvey (2009).



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan (1893-4); J G Bartholomew, Plan of Edinburgh and Leith, from Survey Atlas of Scotland, (1912); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 398; Richard Roger, The Transformation of Edinburgh: Land, Property and Trust in the Nineteenth Century (2004) p. 248; (accessed 17/9/2008).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

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