Robert Brown, 1814. Extensive classical terrace comprising unified façade of 3-storey, and basement 2-bay townhouses with main-door and common stair flats behind, advanced off-centre 9-bay centre pavilion block with 3-bay Ionic columned centre-piece and rounded corner block to E, shops and 5-bay tenement block returning to Melville Place; later slate hung attic additions. Basement area to street including some vaulted cellars and retaining walls. Sandstone ashlar, channelled at ground floor, vermiculated basements to central pavilion. Banded base, cill and string courses at ground and 1st floors; corniced cill and eaves courses at 2nd floor (some 2nd floor windows meet string course). Breakfronted cast-iron balconies on foliate brackets at 1st floor windows.
CENTRAL PAVILION: terminating axis to Stafford Street. Symmetrical. Advanced 9 bays with 3-bay tetrastyle Giant Order columned and balustraded centrepiece; paired outer columns. Central rounded arched doorway, narrow sidelights, radial and mouchette glazing to fanlight; flanking round arched windows in rounded recesses at ground floor. Architraved and corniced window surrounds, central pedimented window at 1st floor. Plain entablature, dentilled cornice, balustraded and stepped parapet with swagged bas-relief to centre; segmental arched bi-partite dormers above. End bays further advanced to flanking houses; radial fanlights over doorways; architraved and corniced 1st floor window above; stepped parapet and balustrade.
E CORNER BLOCK: consisting of 3-storey, 5-bay townhouse (No. 1 Melville Street) with additional recessed curved bay to corner, and 5-bay classical tenement to Melville Place; advanced shops at ground floor, wrapping around corner. Attics and basements to Melville Street, ashlar attic storey to Melville Place. Small stepped parapet to centre. Melville Street: Stepped parapet to flanking and corner bays with bas relief panels. Recessed round arched surround to ground floor window on left. Round arched doorway with narrow sidelights, and fanlight with radial glazing. Architraved and corniced windows at 1st floor, pedimented central bay. Curved bay: recessed round arched surround with blind balustrade, with architraved, bracketed and consoled window at 1st floor, architraved surround at 2nd floor with blind sidelights.
Predominantly 6- over 9-pane and 12-pane windows in timber sash and case to right of centrepiece at Melville Street, with plate glass in timber sash and case to left of centrepiece and at Melville Place; lying-pane glazing to curved corner bay; plate glass to shop fronts. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement recess at Melville Street. Double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar parapet and gable stacks with modern clay cans.
INTERIOR: interior typified by highly decorative classical scheme with detailed cornicing, converted for later office and residential use (2008).
ARCHED LAMP HOLDERS: decorative cast-iron arches, with lamp holder to centre. Glass lamp bowls to nos. 15, 27, 37, 39. Original cast-iron serpent lamp extinguisher to railings throughout.
Statement of Special Interest
A-group with Melville Street, Melville Memorial and Melville Crescent (see separate listings). Melville Street is the central axis of the Walker Estate development and is the grandest part of the residential scheme. It is largely unaltered and the monumental impact on the streetscape is retained as it is set within a wide avenue. The fine classical detailing of the centrepiece provides a dramatic terminating view to Stafford Street. Original features are retained, the best of which are the serpent lamp extinguishers coiled in the railings by the entrance to most of the houses.
By 1825 Melville Street was nearly complete and formed the centrepiece of the Walker Estate which was owned by Sir Patrick Walker and developed by him to a plan by Robert Brown. Melville Street is one of the earliest parts of the scheme to be built and provided an indication of the high class residential scheme that Walker intended to create.
Robert Brown was an experienced architect, and by the time he was involved with the deigns for the Walker Estate he had already designed several other urban schemes, including between 1810 and 1830 laying out streets in Portobello on land belonging to the Marques of Abercorn. His other notable works include Newington and St. Leonard's church (now The Queen's Hall) and the rearrangement of the interiors for Yester House on behalf of the Marques of Tweeddale. Robert Brown worked on a number of smaller projects in the New Town but the cohesive planning of the Walker estate is amongst one of the best examples of his work. He was especially competent in the design of corner pavilions and parades of shops, as can be seen in his work at North West Circus Place (see separate listing).
(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
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