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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
  • Date Added: 14/07/1966


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 26190 68369
  • Coordinates326190, 668369


Probably John Baxter Jnr, 1769, alterations circa 1835 including porch and service wing (possibly David Bryce), interior remodelled circa 1795, later decoration c.1840 by Thomas Bonnar of D R Hay & Co. Large classical villa with fine decorative scheme to principal rooms. 3-storey over basement, 3-central bays advanced and pedimented front and rear. Squared and coursed cream ashlar with polished ashlar dressings, rusticated quoins from 1st floor upwards, moulded base course, band course, raised ashlar margins at 2nd floor. Ground floor treated plainly; all margins flush, and 1st floor built slightly recessed over band course. Timber sash and case windows with 12-pane glazing pattern.

NW ELEVATION: advanced, pedimented central bay with entrance at ground floor; steps to later (circa 1835) aedicular porch supported on arch over basement area, with paired Greek Doric columns and pediment. Original consoled doorway, later timber panelled door. Windows flanking at ground floor and basement (half-height at basement), 3 taller windows at 1st floor, outer windows with triangular pediments, rounded pediment to central bay. 3 windows to 2nd floor, oculus in Gibbs surround to tympanum lighting attic, dies to pediment. Outer recessed bays with windows to each floor, taller and corniced at 1st floor.

SE ELEVATION: no access from house onto terrace. Treatment of elevation as above, except outer windows at 1st floor pedimented. Pediment with blank panel, suggesting that sculpture was intended.

SW ELEVATION: 5-bay with 5 windows at each floor, taller at 1st.

NE ELEVATION: as SW elevation, but with 2 large 20th century dormers added to attic, and flat-roofed service court added circa 1835, originally single storey adjoining basement, later raised by 1 floor in pink sandstone to adjoin ground floor of main house with link carried on arch. Central advanced bay to NW with simple pediment, pedimented central bay to NE with segmentally arched carriage opening at ground floor, now glazed with French windows. Ashlar blocking course. Service court with 8 lying-pane glazing at ground floor, taller 12-pane sash and case windows to 1st floor.

Grey slates to platform roof, corniced ashlar stacks.

INTERIOR: vestibule with plasterwork ceiling leads to unusual arrangement of 2 cantilevered staricases at centre of house, 1 rectangular on plan service stair at right, principal stair in square well with square cupola and gilded scrolled foliage to soffit, turned timber balusters, moulded outer end to each step. Principal rooms to SE at centre across 3 bays; DINING ROOM at ground floor with black marble chimneypiece, circa 1820. DRAWING ROOM above at 1st floor, remodelled later 18th century with delicate Adam-style ceiling; a long oval with central rose of acanthus leaves and spreading corn ears and flowers, frieze and cornice. Chandelier recently installed. Original chimneypiece lost, but large gilded pier glass with marble topped gilded console table, and gilded and ornately carved pelmet boxes retained. Shutters, doors and dado panels decorated with hand-painted pastoral scenes in gilt arabesques, circa 1840 by Thomas Bonnar of D R Hay & Co. Paint to walls not original. LIBRARY above at 2nd floor, original coved ceiling and plasterwork; eagles holding foliate sprays at corners, classical urns with foliate sprays half way along each wall. Heavy, dentilled cornice. 2 pedimented, break-front bookcases between windows, tall bookcases on opposite wall returning on side walls with brass mesh to doors. Woodwork now painted white. Chimneypiece to W wall, 18th century white stone with male and female caryatids carrying foliate capitals, concave fluted cornice and scrolled foliate frieze. Grey marble slips, modern grate.

TERRACE, FOUNTAIN AND STATUE BASES: terraced garden with stone steps to SE, arboretum to W of house containing -mid 19th century planting and stone fountain and stone statue plinths (statues now missing).

BURIAL GROUND: family burial ground with some surviving memorials (not seen 1995) on tree-planted mound to E of house with stone retaining wall.

Statement of Special Interest

Although the Mortonhall Estate including the garden ground around the house is still owned by the Trotter family, the house was requisitioned during the war as an officer's mess and leased to Edinburgh University in 1949 for a Marxist experiment in communal living. Following use as a nursing home in the 1950's and 60's, the house lay empty for some years, and suffered loss of fittings including fireplaces. It was subdivided into 13 flats which were sold individually in the mid-1980's. Stonework and earlier descriptions suggests there was garden access from SE and SW by iron staricases from 1st floor. These have been removed and stonework made good. The Stables and outbuildings, Dovecot and Factors House to the NE of the house, and the Walled Garden, former Kennels cottages and Icehouse to the W are all listed separately.



Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984), pp490-1.

C J Smith HISTORIC SOUTH EDINBURGH (19 ), Vol 2, pp386-7.

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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