James Milne, 1821-2; Adam Ogilvie Turnbull, 1828; later additions and alterations. 2- and 3-storey, 3-bay, townhouses (some converted to flats) forming half of uncompleted U-plan terrace around central communal garden. Droved sandstone ashlar to front elevation; squared, coursed sandstone to sides and rear; polished ashlar dressings. Base course, band course; rusticated ground floors; eaves cornice; blocking course. Steps and flying platts crossing basement areas.
Timber-panelled front doors with fanlights. Predominantly 12-pane glazing (some plate glass) in timber sash and case windows. Coped ridge stacks with predominantly yellow clay cans. Double-pitched roofs with ashlar-coped skews and grey slate.
NUMBERS 23-24: Adam Ogilvie Turnbull, 1828-34. 3-storey and basement. Architraved 1st floor windows; semicircular cast-iron 1st floor window balconies with anthemion leaf motif.
INTERIORS: No 24 retains most original features including cantilevered stone staircase with decorative cast-iron banisters, butler's tray at 1st floor and rectangular cupola; bow-ended back sitting room at ground floor; original room layout largely intact, including basement; chimneypieces with cast-iron grates to most rooms; plaster cornicing throughout. No 23 converted to flats 1938. Access not possible, 2007, but interior probably similar to No 24.
NUMBERS 25-27: later 19th century to designs by James Milne. 2-storey, basement and attic terrace. Continuous cast-iron balconies to 1st floor windows. Low canted dormer windows with shallow piended roofs to attic.
INTERIORS: No 27 largely unaltered, retaining cantilevered stone staircase with ornamental cast-iron banisters (cupola is 20th century replacement), most chimney pieces with cast-iron grates and decorative plaster cornicing. Nos 25 & 26 converted to flats (1962).
NUMBERS 28-32: Adam Ogilvie Turnbull circa 1828, to designs by James Milne, 1821. 2-storey, basement and attic terrace. Numbers 28 and 32 slightly advanced with giant Ionic pilasters. Mansard roof to No 30; piend-roofed canted dormers to No 32. Cast-iron balconies to 1st floor windows.
INTERIORS: all houses have cantilevered stone staircases with cast-iron balusters and cupolas, fine ornamental plasterwork, and retain room layout of principal floors. Nos 28, 29 & 32 also retain original basement floor plan. Nos 29, 30 and 32 retain some original chimneypieces with cast-iron grates. No 31 converted to flats 1962.
BOUNDARY WALLS AND RAILINGS: spear-headed cast-iron railings to basement areas and steps; cast-iron lamp stands at regular intervals. High, coped, random-rubble garden walls to rear of houses.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with 1-15 Saxe Coburg Place and Dean Bank House. A-Group with 25-32 Saxe Coburg Place and Dean Bank House. A well-conceived terraced group with good surviving interiors by the same architect who designed St Bernard's Crescent and Ann Street. Although Saxe Coburg Place is unfinished, it is a fine example of early 19th century town planning and is of significant importance as part of the Edinburgh New Town. The original intention to create a 'cul-de-sac' square was largely dictated by the lie of the land, but is nevertheless unusual for its time.
Plans for Saxe Coburg Place were drawn up by James Milne (see below) in 1821, when enthusiasm for building in the New Town was reaching its height. Milne's plan was originally for a closed-end rectangular layout with the houses in the centre and at each end slightly taller with giant Ionic pilasters, creating a unified effect. Work started straight away and numbers 1 and 2 had been built by the time of the publication of Kirkwood's map, which shows the rest of the intended layout outlined in red. Milne only completed Nos 1-8 and the scheme was taken over by Adam Ogilvie Turnbull in 1828. Turnbull completed Nos 28-32 to Milne's designs (although with rather more elaborate interior plasterwork and other fixtures), but redesigned the end of the square with 3-storey houses laid out on a curve. Numbers 9-14 and 23-4 were completed to this plan before Turnbull went bankrupt in 1834. Between the publication of the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps (but probably not simultaneously) No 15 was built to Turnbull's design and Nos 25-7 were built to Milne's design.
In the 20th century a number of internal alterations were carried out to the houses, although the rear elevations all remain remarkably unchanged with very few additions. Nos 7-8 were given a 3rd storey and converted to a school in 1918-19 by the architect James Ingram. Between the 1930s and 1970s a number of the houses were divided into flats, although this work, in most cases, was done relatively sympathetically, mostly retaining original staircases, room layout and ornamental features such as plasterwork and chimneypieces. No 14 was the first to be converted, in 1931 and was also the first to be restored as a single dwelling, in 1987. Drawings for the conversion are in the National Archives, ref RHP 140879.
James Milne designed several other architecturally notable streets in the Northern New Town, including St Bernard's Crescent, Ann Street, Danube Street and Calton Street. He is believed to have trained as a mason, but little else is known about him and his other work, except that he seems to have moved to Newcastle after 1834.