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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: 14/12/1970


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 24547 73712
  • Coordinates324547, 673712


J Gillespie Graham, 1823; executed by R Hutchinson (1826 -1830). 33-bay classical terrace comprising 2-and 3-storey attic and basement unified townhouse façade with main-door and common stair flats behind; later corniced, slate hung storey to No. 15. Sandstone ashlar, droved to basement, channelled at ground floor. Entrance platts oversailing basement. Band course at ground floor; banded cill course at 1st floor; corniced eaves course; balustraded parapet. Architraved and corniced surrounds to openings at 1st floor. Cast-iron anthemion balconies at 1st floor.

Predominantly 15-pane and 12-pane in timber sash and case windows, with some plate glass in timber sash and case. Double pitch M section roof, grey slates. Corniced ashlar ridge stacks with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement recess to street.

INTERIOR: interior typified by Greek decorative scheme with Greek key motif cornicing, converted for later office and residential use (2008).

Statement of Special Interest

Well-detailed tenement design by James Gillespie Graham situated at the edge of the former Walker Estate. The plain but well-executed finish and the inclusion of the anthemion balconies make the terrace a good piece of streetscape. The balconies are a particularly good survival and echo the simple neo Greek interiors which originally featured but are no longer evidenced internally.

Alva Street lay on land belonging to Lord Alva, who acted as a trustee for James Erskine. The plan for this part of his estate was drawn up by Gillespie Graham, but the land was sold in 1825 to a lawyer, James Stuart. Nothing was done to develop the site, and the land was sold again to a builder (Robert Hutchison) in 1826. It was under his ownership that the street was built to the original Gillespie Graham plan by 1830.

James Gillespie Graham was best known for designing country houses and churches in the Gothic style, and his work was predominantly on Gothic churches and castellated country houses. He produced relatively little classical work, but in addition to Gray's House in Elgin (see separate listing) his most notable work was the Moray Estate. The monumental style of the architecture, in which he was influenced by Adam's Charlotte Square (see separate listing) can also be seen in Alva Street which takes the form of end pavilions flanking a central run of terraced townhouses.

(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1849-53); John Wood, Plan of the City of Edinburgh, including all the latest and intended improvements (1823); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 369; Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600 -1840, (1995).

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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Printed: 30/05/2016 03:59