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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 24125 73804
  • Coordinates324125, 673804


A G Sydney Mitchell, 1883; reconstruction of 1876 terraced house; later alterations forming access to some rooms formerly part of No. 2 Rothesay Terrace (see separate listing). 4-storey, 4-bay asymmetrical townhouse over basement and attic. 2-storey canted bay to right (E), 2-storey rectangular bay to left (W); pedimented porch; distinctive multipane glazing. Entrance platt oversailing basement. Sandstone ashlar, channelled to either side of porch. Banded base course. Moulded band course at 1st floor. Moulded string course at 3rd floor; corniced eaves course. Architraved windows, corniced cills. Pilastered and pedimented timber porch to centre with relief carving in classical style. Pedimented window centred above at 1st floor. 2-storey canted (to right) and square (to left) bays. Tripartite (right) and bipartite (left) mullioned windows at 2nd floor with scrolled aprons. Windows with bracketed cills at 3rd floor (bipartite to far) left. 3 rectangular bipartite dormers at attic. Cast-iron balconies, with bombed profile above entrance and advanced bays.

REAR (N) ELEVATION: 6 storeys, roughly 3 bays, slightly advanced. Regular squared coursed rubble with ashlar quoin stones, cills, lintels and rybats. Regular fenestration, with 6-storey canted bay at right. Tripartite windows at 1st 2nd and 3rd floors with similar mulitpane glazing to front (S) elevation.

Elaborate mulitpane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. 18 and 15-pane glazing at upper floors. Steep double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar gable end stacks (that to E replacement) with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar cope edging basement recess to street. Cast-iron rainwater goods set behind cornice and band courses.

INTERIOR: lavish Franco-Italianate interior, now converted for use as a hotel (2008). Large walnut panelled entrance hall including broad square staircase with marble treads. Gryphon craved newel posts with armorial shields. Large scroll pedimented chimneypiece of red and white marble. Dining room to rear with further panelling and two stage marble chimneypiece and timber beamed ceiling. Large drawing room to rear at 1st floor with bay window. Timber panelling and large alabaster and coloured stone fireplace by Farmer and Brindley. Deep cornice with figurative decoration. Panelled ceiling with murals depicting astrological and pastoral scenes. Library to front left of plan at 1st floor with integrated corniced bookcases and detailed timber panelling with relief carvings of putti. Some cornicing at 2nd and 3rd floor rooms and cylindrical rooflights at 3rd floor corridors.

Statement of Special Interest

A one off townhouse designed by Sydney Mitchell for J R Findlay Watherston the editor of the Scotsman newspaper. The design is a mannerist interpretation of the rigid classicism of the surrounding terraces. The two bays (one canted, one rectangular) are asymmetrical, as is the placement of the tripartite and bipartite windows on the upper floors. The classical detailing is deliberate and refers to the surrounding buildings. The highly detailed and intricately carved porch is also a good survival and provides evidence of the high quality craftsmanship found both inside and outside the house.

Number 3 Rothesay Terrace was owned by J R Findlay (editor of the Scotsman) and used as his entertaining space. Living space for him and his family remained in No. 2 until it was later sold. The side windows of the bay to the rear of No. 2 were blocked at this point so that the new owner would not overlook the terrace of No.3 which Findlay still owned. The rear of the house looks out over the Dean Village and Well Court. Well Court (see separate listing) was also designed by Mitchell for Findlay and was the centrepiece of Watherston's social housing scheme for the Dean Village.

In the 1930s the building served as residence for Queen Margret College 'Domestic Science Institute' before being passed to the National Health Service as a Conference Centre in the 1960s.

Arthur George Sydney Mitchell was an important Scottish architect of the later 19th century. The work for Well Court and 3 Rothesay Terrace were amongst the earliest of his commissions in independent practice and some of the best examples of his major residential works. Mitchell met Findlay through his father who was an eminent public figure. Shortly afterwards (again possibly through the influence of his father) Mitchell was appointed the architect to the Commercial Bank of Scotland. Later, after taking on George Wilson as a partner the practice also became architects to the Board for Scotland. Mitchell was an excellent designer, equally comfortable with public and private works and a master at combining various architectural styles.

Later alterations have incorporated some rooms which were formerly part of No. 2 Rothesay Terrace (see separate listing) into the interior of No. 3.

(Category changed from B to A and list description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1893-94); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 378; The Building News (1.8.1884); Sydney Mitchell and Wilson Collection, NMRS, EDD 635/1.

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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