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.

20-52 (EVEN NOS) NORTH BRIDGE INCLUDING SCOTSMAN HOTEL, SCOTSMAN STEPS, ARCADE, ROYAL MILE MANSIONS, 175 AND 177 HIGH STREET AND 65-71 (ODD NOS) COCKBURN STREETLB30143

Status: Designated

Documents

There are no additional online documents for this record.

Summary

Category
A
Date Added
12/12/1974
Supplementary Information Updated
19/12/2002
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25884 73737
Coordinates
325884, 673737

Description

James Dunn and James Finlay, 1899-1902. Huge Scots Renaissance block of tenements and shops, including the former printing works and offices of the SCOTSMAN newspaper (now the Scotsman Hotel); 7 3-bay, 4-storey and attic blocks to North Bridge, twin 3-bay gabled and turreted 7-storey and attic blocks to Market Street with balustraded terrace leading from North Bridge level to octagonal stair tower to Market Street; 2 3-bay, 4-storey and attic blocks curved to Cockburn Street with bartizaned corner block to Fleshmarket Close, and arcade leading from North Bridge to Cockburn Street. Coursed cream ashlar; squared and snecked bull-faced sandstone with polished dressings above ground floor to Cockburn Street. Windows predominantly bipartite and tripartite, some with moulded architraves, blocked surrounds, chamfered stone mullions and transoms.

E (NORTH BRIDGE) ELEVATION: modillioned eaves cornice and stone parapet. Red granite base course, round-arched openings with channelled piers and carved transom panels to ground floor of 3 bays to right (former SCOTSMAN office); blocked bipartites above; stone-domed octagonal corner turret to outer right. 3 bays to centre flanked by engaged circular turrets with copper ogee roofs corbelled out at 2nd floor; arcade entrance to ground floor with allegorical figure in niche above; apex stack to scrolled pediment elaborately enriched with heraldic carving above. Diocletian windows to 3rd floor of 3 bays to centre and 2nd floor of 2 flanking blocks; canted windows with stone parapet above in alternate bays to 1st floor of 3 centre blocks. Corner block to outer left with round-arched entrance on canted corner and octagonal stone-domed tower with lantern above; bracketed balcony at 1st floor; Diocletian windows with carved transom panels below to 2 bays to left; enriched pediment to attic gable above.

S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: tall corniced and blocked wallhead stack to outer right.; 3-storey oriel with balustered balcony corbelled out to centre; empty niche supported by putti in scrolled gable above; bracketed balconies at 2nd and 4th floors.

N (MARKET STREET) ELEVATION: 3-bay steeply gabled block to left with segmental-pedimented aedicule containing sculpture to gable, flanked by stone-domed octagonal turrets corbelled out at 1st floor level; carved panel with SCOTSMAN masthead flanked by heraldic lions; balustraded, bracketed terrace leading to W block; round- and segmental-arched openings to 3 floors below North Bridge level (that to right at ground floor former vehicle entrance). Lower link building to centre. Bowed bay at Market Street level linking to Scotsman Steps. Gabled block to right with 4-storey oriel corbelled out from decorative carving at 3rd floor; steep gable with sculpted panel and wallhead stack; 4-bay W return with round-arched entrance to terrace.

SCOTSMAN STEPS: Blois-style octagonal spiral stair tower with decorative wrought-iron grilles in depressed-arched openings. Glazed tiles to interior.

W (COCKBURN STREET) ELEVATION: corner block to left with copper-domed circular tourelle corbelled out at 2nd floor to corner of Fleshmarket Close; crowstepped gable to Fleshmarket Close. 2 3-bay blocks to right with crowstepped gabled bays to centre, that to left with round-arched entrance to arcade.

ARCADE: V-shaped arcade running from North Bridge to Cockburn Street. Round-arched entrances with decorative iron grilles. Coffered ceiling with turquoise and gold star-spangled mosaics. Original shop-fronts with bowed plate glass flanked by timber Ionic colonnettes. Central ribbed dome with lantern and original stained glass.

INTERIOR: entrance hall of Scotsman Hotel: reception area and stair: carved timber panelling to entrance hall and reception area with fluted Ionic pilasters; compartmented 17th century-style plasterwork to ceiling; grey-veined white marble with Ionic pilasters to stair hall; leaded and stained glass to oriel window. Scotsman Bar (former Public Office of SCOTSMAN newspaper): mahogany panelled; timber bracketed gallery with decorative iron handrail; 17th century-style compartmented ceiling with ornate decorative plasterwork (fruit and flowers) supported on grey-veined white Sicilian marble piers with gilded capitals.

Predominantly plate glass in timber sash and case windows; 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to Cockburn Street. Grey slates. Some cast-iron down pipes with decorative hoppers. Corniced ashlar stacks with some circular cans; large brick stack to centre.

Statement of Special Interest

A Group comprises 20-52 (even nos) North Bridge including Scotsman Steps, Arcade, Royal Mile Mansions, 175 and 177 High Street and 65-71 Cockburn Street, 3-29 (odd nos) North Bridge, Carlton Hotel, 137-141 (odd nos) High Street and 31 North Bridge. Following the widening of North Bridge, and the demolition of Halkerston's Wynd, Kinloch's Close, Carruber's Close, Milne's Square and the Poultry Market, the extensive site to the W of the Bridge was purchased from the City in 1898 by John Ritchie & Co, proprietors of the SCOTSMAN newspaper. Dunn and Findlay were commissioned to design a complex of buildings for the site, including offices and printing works for the newspaper, and commercial premises. The booklet entitled THE SCOTSMAN BUILDINGS shows plans and elevations (described as 'Free Renaissance style with French chateau features') both of the Scotsman buildings and of the adjacent commercial premises, 'now nearing completion', which are advertised for rental. The plans show the direct access from the lowest level of the building to the newspaper's private railway siding at Waverley Station. The building at 1-6 Market Street, now the City Art Centre (separately listed) was also part of the complex. James Leslie Findlay was the son of John Ritchie Findlay, proprietor of the SCOTSMAN. The Scotsman offices and printing works moved to No 20 North Bridge from their 1st purpose-built premises at 26-30 Cockburn Street (Peddie and Kinnear, 1860). The premises for the newspaper were both a prestigious building on a commanding site, opulently decorated both outside and in the public interiors, and a functional one. The building is steel-framed, with concrete-clad floors and brick-lined columns. It was equipped with Lanson pneumatic tubes, electric lighting and electric lifts. The flexible design of the building allowed it to remain in its original use for almost a century. It was converted to hotel use in 2000.

The allegorical figure above the entrance to the North Bridge Arcade is by William Birnie Rhind. The figure of Peace in the aedicule on the N elevation is by Frederick Schenk, those of Mercury and those based on Michelangelo's Night and Day by Joseph Hayes.

The elevations to Cockburn Street (Nos 65-71) were designed to link with Peddie and Kinnear's buildings of the 1860's, and John MacLachlan's National Bank building of 1892-3 at 179 High Street and 73 Cockburn Street (separately listed).

Category changed from B to A, 19 December 2002.

References

Bibliography

Original drawings by Dunn and Findlay in NMRS collection. Dean of Guild 3rd May 1898, 4th May 1899, 17th May 1900. THE SCOTSMAN BUILDINGS (1902). ACADEMY ARCHITECTURE 1899 vol 1 p89 (perspective view to N); 1903 vol 1 p107 and 1902 vol 2 pp104-5 (sculpture, Frederick Schenk). Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 232. S McConnachie 'The Scotsman Building,' AHSS MAGAZINE (WINTER 2000).

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.

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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.

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Printed: 15/10/2019 10:00