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.

139 COWGATE, FORMER TAILOR'S HALLLB28595

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 25784 73428
Coordinates
325784, 673428

Description

Dated 1621 with later additions and alterations (see Notes). Outstanding U-plan group of interconnected 17th century mercantile buildings with fine 4-storey, 4-bay, L-plan former hall to centre on sloping site (2 storey to rear), flanked by 3-storey wings projecting to N. Rubble with ashlar dressings throughout.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: FORMER HALL - N ELEVATION: Broken, moulded cill courses to 1st and 2nd floors (N elevation). Irregular fenestration. Crow-stepped gables. Projecting stair tower to far left with moulded doorway and finialed date-stone pediment embedded within wall at 3rd floor. Wide segmental arched pend now forming main entrance. Large drum well (dated 1837) situated to immediate left. Rear (S) elevation: 8-bay with regular fenestration; ochre coloured lime render. Further adjoined gable-ended block set back to far left.

Pedimented dormers to W wing. Further large segmental arch opening to ground at E wing.

INTERIOR: Comprehensively refurbished for use as a public house and nightclub.

Predominantly multi-pane timber sash and case windows. Scottish slate. Piended roofs to wings. End stacks to main hall section. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

The former Tailors' Hall is a rare example of early 17th century mercantile architecture, occupying a key location on the Cowgate. Having undergone a number of changes of use during its long history, the building retains much of its 18th century character with its projecting stair outshot and large windows to the main hall at 2nd floor. In 1620 the Incorporation of Tailors acquired an area of land on the S of the Cowgate on which stood a group of ruinous buildings. They built the main hall, completed in 1621, on the S side of the courtyard. The top floor of the hall was added in 1757. In 1640, a range of fine crow-stepped buildings were added to the N side of the courtyard, fronting the Cowgate. This block was demolished circa 1940. There was a garden behind the Tailors' Hall which is now a car-park serving the buildings on Chambers Street to the S. In 1801 the Argyle Brewery acquired the whole of the Tailors' property with the exception of one building alongside the Hall which the Incorporation retained. The draft of the National Covenant was approved in the Hall on 17th February 1638. The group of adjoining buildings were converted for use as a brewery circa 1925 and then again to function as a hotel. It is currently operating as a bar and nightclub.

List description updated at resurvey (2007/08).

References

Bibliography

D MacGibbon and T Ross, The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland from the twelth to the eighteenth century (1887) VolIV, p464. T Ross, G B Brown and W F Gray, The Taylor's Hall - Cowgate (1922) The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, p125-43 and p158-71. RIAS Quarterly - May 1953. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p213. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p29. OEC vol 11 p.162-171.

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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Printed: 15/10/2019 10:50