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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 21119 69179
321119, 669179


A J Balfour Paul, 1899. 2-storey, U-plan, Scots Renaissance style almshouses around central courtyard with elaborate over-door carving to central entrance, turrets in re-entrant angles, advanced finialled gabled entrances to wings, pedimented dormers, ridge stacks, and arched pavilions with leaded ogee roofs. Painted render with red sandstone dressings. Band course to entrance gables, eaves course. Raised window margins; dormers to 1st floor of wings with finialled triangular and segmental pediments. Timber-boarded front doors to side wings in stop-chamfered, roll-moulded architraves with prominent keystones and deep cornices. Regular fenestration.

COURTYARD ELEVATIONS: Slightly advanced 3-bay centre. Half-glazed, 2-leaf timber panelled doors to centre with leaded lights and flanking ionic pilasters supporting deep cornice; large segmental-pedimented tablet above with flanking scrolls, bearing inscription (see Notes). Tall windows breaking eaves with shaped finialled gables to bays flanking door. Slightly recessed flanking bays with timber boarded front doors in roll-moulded, key-blocked architraves with triangular pediments. Round turret to left re-entrant angle with weather vane; semi-octagonal turret to right; timber boarded front doors with circular lights and roll moulded architraves; lintel to left inscribed PAX INTRANTIBUS; lintel to right inscribed SALUS EXEUNTIBUS. Long crowstepped gabled wings advanced to each side, each with two advanced coped gables containing 2 doors at ground and paired windows at 1st floor. Regular fenestration to recessed sections; dormers at 1st floor.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: regular fenestration. 4-bay crowstepped central block; 2-leaf half-glazed timber panelled door with finialled pediment to centre; 2 timber boarded doors to outer bays. Slightly lower 2-bay flanking sections with central pedimented windows (probably former doors) at ground. Advanced 2-bay crowstepped gables to outer left and right.

E AND W (REAR) ELEVATIONS: irregularly fenestrated wings with scullery outshots and timber boarded back doors. Sections to N with crowstepped gabled outshots. Slightly lower sections to S with central swept-roof outshots flanked by pedimented dormers and large 2-window shaped slate-hung dormers. Lean-to, single-bay, outshots to outer S bays against garden wall.

6-, 8-, and 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Ashlar coped skews and skewputts. Rendered stacks with sandstone cornicing and tall red clay cans. Graded grey slate with terracotta ridge tiles. Cast-iron rainwater goods with decorative hoppers. Decorative cast-iron lamps by some front doors.

INTERIOR: access not possible 2003.

BALUSTRADE AND PAVILIONS: raised balustraded pavement around front courtyard with steps to central lawn opposite entrance doors and terminating in 2 pavilions. Square-plan pavilions with single arches to each elevation and pilastered piers to corners; string course at springing point; roll-moulded entablature; dropped keystones; leaded ogee roofs with finial.

GARDEN HOUSE: square-plan, rendered brick garden building to NW of site, with finialled pavilion roof and leaded casements.

BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: squared, snecked sandstone rubble boundary wall around whole site with ashlar coping. Raised and recessed section to main entrance; rusticated red sandstone ashlar gatepiers with corniced caps. Timber side gates to garden with flanking ball finials and decorative bracket towards main building.

BIRDBATH: or fountain in centre of courtyard. Tiered double basin on baluster base; carved central pillar supporting upper basin which has projecting runnels for water to fall from; badly corroded stone statue of female figure at top to centre.

Statement of Special Interest

A very attractive group of almshouses occupying a prominent position on Spylaw Bank Road. They were built at the bequest of Sir William Fraser (1816-98), former Deputy Keeper of the Records of Scotland. He left #25000 to found the homes, which were to house poor persons of good character over the age of 55, with preference given to authors and artists. They are now administered by the Merchant Company. The tablet over the main door is inscribed BLESSED BE GOD FOR ALL HIS GIFTS ~ SIR WILLIAM FRASER K.C.B LL.D DEPARTING THIS LIFE ANNO DOMINI MDCCCXCVIII DEDICATED A GREAT PORTION OF HIS ESTATE TO THE ERECTION OF THIS HOUSE AND THE COMFORT OF ITS INDWELLERS.



ACADEMY ARCHITECTURE 1899, pp97 & 103. BUILDING NEWS, August 4 1899. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH, p521.

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 You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 29/02/2020 00:38