1733-4 (Ramsay Lodge) with alterations and additions, principally Arthur George Sydney Mitchell and George Wilson, 1893. Asymmetrical 2-storey, basement and attic U-plan tenement with Arts and Crafts/Scottish vernacular detailing, incorporating the 18th century octagonal Ramsay Lodge (see Notes), with pitch-roofed E and W blocks and linking bays designed by Mitchell and Wilson. Squared and snecked stugged red sandstone with polished dressings, and cream harl. Swept roofs with broad bracketed eaves. squared and snecked droved red sandstone with polished dressings
N BLOCK, INCLUDING RAMSAY LODGE:
S (RAMSAY COURT) ELEVATION: pedimented centre bay: projecting pitch-roofed porch with 2-leaf timber door flanked by windows; 2 pilasters of original Ramsay Lodge flanking single window to 1st floor; tripartite window to jettied 2nd floor; pedimented gable above. Bell-cast roofed square-plan stair tower with weathervane to right: narrow tripartite stepped windows to ground, 1st and 2nd floors. Single bay to left with pedimented dormer to attic.
N ELEVATION: narrow swept-roofed 3-storey harled bay to outer left with glazed door to ground, timber balcony to 1st, decorative cast-iron balcony to 2nd and 2 swept dormers to attic. 3 facets of original Ramsay Lodge showing to centre: buttresses (see Notes
to decorative wrought-iron balcony at 2nd floor; timber balcony to 4th floor (see Notes); finialled pyramidal roof with small dormer. Irregularly fenestrated 3-storey harled block with swept roof to right: 2 swept dormers to attic with small dormers above.
W (RAMSAY COURT) ELEVATION: 3 storeys, attic and basement. Red sandstone to basement, ground and 1st floors, harled above. Irregularly fenestrated. Broad wallhead stack corbelled out at 2nd floor to centre; stone steps and platts over-arching basement area to timber panelled door with fanlight below. Splayed corner with timber dragons supporting corbel above at 2nd floor to outer right. Cast-iron railings to basement area.
S ELEVATION: 2-bay swept-gabled block: red sandstone to ground and 1st floors, harled above; chamfered corner to left, with timber dragons supporting corner above. 3rd and 4th floors jettied, with small-pane-glazed windows. Small windows at 1st and 2nd floors in red sandstone return to E.
N ELEVATION: projecting gabled 2-bay 5-storey and attic block: red sandstone to ground, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, harled above; round-arched windows to ground floor; cill band to tall mullioned and transomed windows at 1st floor (John Duncan room); paired windows to 2nd floor; cill band to 3rd floor; oriel at 4th floor; glazing rising into gable above; terracotta cat to apex. 2 E-facing bays to re-entrant angle: broad wallhead stack to centre; engaged, finialled pyramidal-roofed corner tower.
E (RAMSAY COURT) ELEVATION: 3-bay asymmetrically gabled block with painted half-timbering in boarded gable; red painted stone steps to 1st floor entrance to ogee-roofed square-plan stair tower; balconies with wrought-iron balustrades at 2nd and 3rd floors (accessed from stair tower at right).
W ELEVATION: 5 bays on sloping ground; cream harled with red-painted dressings; irregularly fenestrated. Narrow bay to outer right. Ggabled 2-bay block 2nd from right, jettied at 3rd and 4th floors, with adjoining sandstone chimney breast. Gabled 5-storey and attic bay to centre with oriel to 1st, 2nd , 3rd and 4th floors, corbelled to square at attic level and bracketed balconies to left at 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. Tall chimney breast to left with cill bands to each floor and carved plaque at 2nd floor level. 6-stage engaged ogee-roofed circular-plan tower to outer left (red sandstone, harled to 6th stage), with cill bands at each level.
N ELEVATION: projecting 5-storey and attic asymmetrically gabled block, red sandstone to ground, harled above; oriel to left at 1st floor , balcony to right; quadripartite windows to 2nd and 3rd floors; jettied to 4th floor; small tripartite window to attic in boarded gable. Pyramidal-roofed turret corbelled out at 2nd floor in E re-entrant angle.
INTERIOR: plaster stamps to dadoes of stair walls representing lamp of wisdom, thistle and University Hall crest. Common Room in E block with murals by John Duncan depicting scenes from Celtic myth, Scottish history and scientific achievement (eg The Awakening of Cuchullin, the Combat of Fionn, the Taking of Excaliber, the Journey of St Mungo, John Napier of Merchiston, James Watt, Walter Scott, Charles Darwin and Joseph Lister). (see Notes).
Small-pane glazing in timber sash and case and casement windows. Mainly red tiles with some green Abefoyle slates. Tall stacks with circular cans, some red sandstone, some harled with tabbed red sandstone quoins.
TERRACE, STEPS AND GATEWAY: Robert Billings, 1857-60 (see Notes).
Statement of Special Interest
The A group comprises Nos 1-3, Nos 4-10, Nos 11 and 12 and Nos 13-16 Ramsay Garden. The ground on which Ramsay Garden stands was acquired by the poet Allan Ramsay in 1733. On it he built an octagonal villa, (Ramsay Lodge, sometimes known as Guse Pye House ) completed circa 1734. A small 2-storey wing to the NE was built in 1784, and a 3-storey addition to the W in 1819. An embanked terrace to N, upon which it was intended to place a memorial statue to Allan Ramsay senior, with massive, buttressed retaining wall, porter's lodge to E and steps and gate to W, designed by Robert Billings, was built in 1857-60 for Lord Murray of Henderland, a descendant of Ramsay. The terrace collapsed in 1860, and the lodge had to be demolished, but the W part of the terrace, with steps and gateway, survive. The buttresses clasping the N angles of Ramsay Lodge, and the cast-iron balcony at 2nd floor level (also designed by Billings) date from this time. The statue (separately listed) was eventually erected in W Princes Street Gardens. The property was purchased from Lord Murray in 1890 by Professor Patrick Geddes. The complex which Geddes built, incorporating Ramsay Lodge and a plain 18th century tenement (Nos 1-3 Ramsay Garden) to the E, and designed by S Henbest Capper and Sydney Mitchll and Wilson, was an extension of his University Hall, begun in 1883 at 2 Mound Place. As the article in the BUILDER suggests, Geddes' intention was to 'combine the advantages of collegiate life with the more practical needs and shorter purses of Scottish undergraduates.' The larger houses in the W block were intended for 'families of professional gentlemen interested in the movement.' Ramsay Lodge was raised in height a storey, and the wings raised and re-roofed. The Lodge and the E wing were to be a student hall of residence, with study bedrooms, sitting rooms, studios and a common-room decorated with murals painted by John Duncan (recently restored), to a scheme devised by Geddes. The Ramsay Garden complex is important both architecturally and historically, and also has immense townscape significance, particularly the sky-line as viewed from Princes Street and the New Town.