John C Hay, 1872. 3-storey and attic 3-bay symmetrical Scots Baronial tenement with shops at ground floor and obliquely-set hall to rear.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: semi-circular stair tower to rear. Arcade of tall stilted-arched windows at 1st floor, tall square-plan turrets to outer bays linked by quatrefoil detail parapet. Crowstepped advanced central gable with sculpture on pedestal to apex. Coursed rock-faced sandstone with polished dressings. Pillastered shops at ground floor with foliate capitals to pilasters, segmental-arched openings, and continuous moulded cornice with mask end brackets. Polished cill band at 1st floor with elaborately carved panel to centre: heraldic beasts, shields and motto. Bipartite windows in stop-chamfered surrounds to outer bays at 2nd floor; carved panel to centre: ODDFELLOWS HALL and symbol (heart and hand); high relief sculpture group (see Notes) above. Corbel table at attic floor; paired turrets with paired gargoyles to base, foliate capitals and moulding above windows, eaves cornices.
Modern plate glazing to traditional shopfronts; plate glass in timber sash and case windows above. Pitched roof, piended roof to hall, grey slates. Corniced rendered stacks with circular cans.
INTERIOR (seen 2001): cast-iron columns supporting former galleries in hall remain.
Statement of Special Interest
Important later 19th century tenement and former society hall with unusual symmetrical elevation and some fine stone detailing which makes a strong contribution to the centre run of an urban streetscape. The architect John C Hay also design the paired tenements either side of the same date which create a fine grouping with the former hall.
According to The Scotsman, the Hall was 'in course of erection' in 1872, and was opened on 22 November 1873. The Oddfellows were principally a friendly society, and the hall was built both for their own use and as an investment. It was to comprise 2 shops with cellarage, a galleried hall to seat 600 to rear, with gallery for orchestra, kitchens, retiring rooms for speakers and singers, a further hall to seat 300, committee rooms for the Oddfellows and a hall-keepers house above. The halls were available for rent for weddings, dances, whist drives etc.
The principal sculpture group on the elevation represents Faith, Hope and Charity, with Charity again on the gable apex. The shield to right below the parapet is carved 'John Hay Architect'.
John C Hay (c1840-1925) began practising in Edinburgh working from 3 Hanover Street in 1867, after which he moved offices many times. The body of his work is in Edinburgh with some churches but mostly tenements the majority of which are in Marchmont and the South Side of Edinburgh. He was President of the Edinburgh Architectural Society at some point in his career.
The planned street triangle of Forrest Road, Bristo Place and Teviot Row was conceived as part of Thomas Hamilton's (1784-1858) vision for the new Southern Approach Road linking Princes Street to George Square and the Meadows (via the Mound, Bank Street and a the new George IV Bridge). The City Improvement Act brought in by Lord Provost Chambers in 1867 was to implement better housing standards and to replace the medieval slum areas in Edinburgh's Old Town. The groups of Baronial style tenement blocks on Forest Road and Teviot Place were built as a direct result of this development phase.
The Oddfellows sold the hall in 1953; and it has been used as a public house for some time (2011)
(List description updated at re-survey 2011-12.)