Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

MORTUARY CHAPEL, ROYAL HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN, SCIENNES ROAD, EDINBURGHLB52347

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
26/05/2015
Supplementary Information Updated
27/05/2015
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25853 72371
Coordinates
325853, 672371

Description

George Washington Browne, 1895, as part of design for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Main Hospital Building. Single storey, 4-bay, rectangular-plan stone mortuary chapel with asymmetrical elevations and an outstanding 1885 mural scheme by Phoebe Anna Traquair (re-sited here in 1895) Situated to northeast corner of the main hospital building (see separate listing). Pair of shouldered arched stone doorways to left in slightly advanced double bay. Piended roof with lower mansard to the front elevation with box dormers. Mullioned leaded bipartite windows, tripartite and quad-partite windows to east gable. Plainer brick construction to rear, slate roof and leaded pane timber windows.

The interior was seen in 2014 and has a outstanding decorative scheme with richly symbolic Arts and Crafts murals by the artist Phoebe Traquair, first executed 1885 at Meadowside House and transferred to the new site under her supervision in 1895. Mural panels above timber boarded dado rail depicting angels singing the Sanctus set against 6 horizontal friezes with doves, flowers, and rams which represent the 6 days of creation. Inset panel depicting annunciation and crucifixion. Coombed ceiling painted with the cross and circles, symbols of eternal life.

Statement of Special Interest

The Mortuary Chapel at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children contains the first, of only three complete interior mural schemes in Scotland by the internationally renowned Scottish Arts and Crafts artist, Phoebe Traquair. The chapel was designed in 1895 by George Washington Browne, as an ancillary building to the main hospital, and it is understood that he designed the chapel around the murals which were to be installed. The chapel is first shown on the 1905 Ordnance Survey map, linked to the main block by a glazed link, which has been replaced.

The first Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh was founded in 1860 at Meadowside House, 7 Lauriston Lane and it was granted Royal Charter in 1863. It was pioneering as the first children's hospital in Scotland. Other cities did not build hospitals of this specialised type until later, such as Aberdeen in 1877 and Glasgow and Dundee in 1883.

In 1885-6 Traquair decorated the former coalhouse at the Lauriston Lane hospital site to create a chapel of rest. The commission was arranged by the Edinburgh Social Union, a new philanthropic society which employed artists to paint public buildings and organised craft classes. When the hospital moved to a new site at Sciennes, Traquair led a campaign to preserve the 1885 murals, overseeing the transfer of those panels that could be moved and in 1896-8 she repaired and extended the murals.

Traquair's two other mural works in Scotland were the Song School at St Mary's Cathedral (1888-92) and The Catholic Apostolic Church (now Mansfield Traquair Centre) (1893-1901) both of which are in Edinburgh (see separate listings). The decorative scheme at the RHSC is small compared to these other commissions however it is very significant and nationally important as her first major decorative scheme commission.

Phoebe Anna Moss (1852-1936) was born near Dublin and married palaeontologist Dr Ramsay Traquair in 1873, moving to Edinburgh with him in 1874. She was a trained artist who was inspired by Celtic Illuminated manuscripts and Pre-Raphaelite art. The bulk of her earlier career from 1890-1902 consisted of illustrating illuminated manuscripts which she continued until watercolours became more commonly used for printed manuscripts. She later moved towards murals, enamelling and tapestry. Traquair was the first important professional female artist in Scotland, an eminent figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, and her importance was recognised when she became the first female honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy.

The Mortuary Chapel was previously listed at category B with the Royal Hospital for Sick Children as 'Sciennes Road, Royal Hospital For Sick Children Including Mortuary And Mortuary Chapel'.

References

Bibliography

Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland CANMORE ID 120073:

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/120073/details/edinburgh+sciennes+road+royal+hospital+for+sick+children

Ordnance Survey. (Surveyed 1893/4, Published 1896) Edinburghshire 003.12. 25 inch to the mile. 2nd Edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

Gifford, J, McWilliam, C, and Walker, D. (1984) Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh.London: Penguin. p.596.

Cant, M. (1990) Sciennes and the Grange. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers. p.69.

Historic Scotland (2010) Building Up Our Health: The Architecture of Scotland's Historic Hospitals. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland.

The Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Royal Hospital for Sick Children at http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=202015 (accessed on 14 October 2014).

Cumming, E. Phoebe Anna Traquair at http://digital.nls.uk/traquair/artist.html (accessed on 2 December 2014).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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 www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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