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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Group Category Details: A - see notes
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 24451 74247
  • Coordinates324451, 674247


Alexander Nasmyth, 1789; restored by Thomas Bonnar Junior, 1888. Replacement statue of Hygeia by D W Stevenson, 1888. Roman Doric temple over mineral spring pump room, comprising open rotunda with 10 columns, on rusticated base; alternating paterae and triglyphs to entablature, surmounted by lead dome, with pineapple finial; 10-panel studded timber door at NE of base, leading to pump room, with tooled ashlar lintel, reading 'St Bernard's Mineral Well'; barred window at SW of base.

STAIR: ashlar T-plan stair with landings, to E, with ashlar treads, saddleback copes.

WALLS: squared and snecked sandstone wall to NW, with triangular coping, capped with roll moulding.

RAILINGS: ashlar copes surmounted by cast-iron railings with spear-headed finials at SE; decorative cast-iron railings to NW.

PLAQUE: pink granite and metal wall-mounted plaque, comprising round arch supported by Corinthian columns, with reverse ogee-moulded base, surmounted by entablature with armorial cartouche and foliate decoration. Metal medallion with profile bust, centred in recess, above inscription reading, 'The Liberal Deviseth Liberal Things. Erected by the Lord Provost Magistrates and Council of the City of Edinburgh to commemorate the public spirit and generosity of the late William Nelson of Salisbury Green who having purchased, restored and embellished St Bernard's Well and the surrounding grounds gifted them to the corporation for the benefit of the citizens of Edinburgh in all time coming. January 1888. The Right Hon Sir Thomas Clark Bart., Lord Provost'.

Statement of Special Interest

Part of the Edinburgh New Town A Group, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain. St Bernard's Well was commissioned from Nasmyth in 1788 by Lord Gardenstone, replacing a well house of 1760, and building, by John Wilson, was begun the following year. The original figure of Hygeia was made of Coade stone. Although best known as a portrait and landscape painter, Nasmyth's experience as a landscape consultant lead to him to design various buildings, including bridges at Almondell, West Lothian and Tongueland, Kirkcudbrightshire. Nasmyth's original and much copied painting of St Bernard's Well is in the Georgian House, Edinburgh (National Trust for Scotland). St Bernard's Well was built at the expense of Francis Garden of Troup.



Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH (1984), p404; Cooksey, ALEXANDER NASMYTH (1991), pp22-3, 89, 90; McKean, EDINBURGH (1992), p121; Colvin, A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS 1600-1840 (1995), p695, MacRae Heritors 41.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

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