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- Category: A
- Date Added: 14/12/1970
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGRNT 26125 74439
- Coordinates326125, 674439
John Baxter, circa 1800. Classical tenement block, 3-storey basement and attic, 19-bay elevation to Baxter's Place. Shops built out to front of N section of block. Smooth chamfered rustication to ground floor, polished ashlar to upper floors (droved / rockfaced to basement; predominantly coursed squared rubble with polished margins to side and rear). Dividing band between ground and 1st floor, and between 1st and second floor; mutuled eaves cornice; blocking course. Architraved doorpieces with consoles supporting cornices above; giant pilasters, surmounted by triglyph blocks, dividing bays to 1st floors of advanced pavilions. Regular fenestration.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: advanced pavilions of 6 bays to outer left and right. 2 timber-panelled doors with letterbox fanlights to centre of N pavilion, approached by steps between shops; windows to right 3 bays to 1st floor have dropped cills and cast iron balconettes. 3rd and 6th bay to centre section have steps to platt overarching basement recess, leading to timber-panelled door with letterbox fanlight (segmental design to fanlight to right). 2nd bay from right to S pavilion has steps and overarching platt to timber-panelled door with letterbox fanlight of segmental design. Dormers to roof to central 4 bays of pavilions and all but 2nd left bay of centre section.
E (REAR) ELEVATION: large modern office block extension to left. To centre, 2 bowed sections (tripartite windows to bow to left, 3-bay bow to right). Remains of later extensions and alterations extant at lower sections to right end of block. Dormers to roof to right.
S (GREENSIDE LANE) ELEVATION: 4-bay elevation; all windows blind or blocked up except those to outer left bay. To inner right bay, fluted Doric pilastered doorway (blocked up).
GLAZING etc: predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Pitched roof, with piend detail to outer pavilions; grey slates; stone skews and skewputts. 4 corniced droved ashlar ridge stacks; 1 corniced rendered ridge stack to centre of block; rubble gablehead stack with ashlar quoins to S elevation, rubble, ashlar quoins; rubble wallhead to E elevation; circular cans to all stacks.
RAILINGS: spearhead and fir-cone finialled cast iron railings set in ashlar coping to edge of basement recesses, steps and platts; wrought iron lamp standards flanking platts to No 3 and No.1.
Statement of Special Interest
Baxter's Place is linked to the north by a quadrant colonnade to Blenheim Place, one of the most important elements in Playfair's Eastern New Town scheme; continuity of building line and quality classical architecture are valuable streetscape elements which 1-8 Baxter's Place contributes to this important corner location. It is a good example of early high quality tenement building in this area of the city. No 1 Baxter's Place was the home of Robert Stevenson, the renowned engineer (also the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson). He died there in 1850.
Baxter's Place is built on land feued by the City to John Baxter, who began dispositions in 1800. However, the land on which the building stand is marked as 'Baxter's Feu' by Kincaid in 1784. Baxter was a builder from Portobello, whose son, John Baxter junior, became an architect well regarded enough to have been asked to be one of the judges of the competition for laying out the grounds of Calton Hill in 1813. Either separately or in partnership, father and son appear to have been involved in several building projects in the Greenside/Leith Street area in the early 19th century.
The shops built out at ground floor were an early addition; in 1830 plans were drawn up to construct shops in front of No 3, but it appears that these particular plans were not carried out. The O.S map of 1852 shows shops in front of Nos 8-4, and by 1877 shops had also been built out in front of Nos 1-2. There was also alteration to the rear, with most of the N end of the block having been extended considerably by 1896. In the 20th century the ground floor of Nos 4-5 was further extended at the rear to house the Salon Cinema. Most of these extensions to the rear have now been fully or partly demolished.
In 1976-8 the south section was refurbished by Robert Hurd and Partners; the shops were removed along with a later mansard roof at the front. To the rear a linked extension was built and the buildings are now government offices.
The building now has a mixed use as shops, a public house, residential flats and office accommodation.
Sasines, S.R.O. Kincaid's Map, 1784. John Ainsie's Map, 1804. O.S. Map, 1853, 1877. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, THE BUILDINGS OF EDINBURGH 1991 p448. H Colvin DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS (1995). RCAHMS Inventory.
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