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- Category: A
- Date Added: 22/02/1971
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGRNT 12895 78390
- Coordinates312895, 678390
Dated 1641; restored by Basil Spence 1953. 3-storey, basement and attic, L-plan dwelling house with polygonal turnpike tower. Rubble; raised ashlar dressings.
E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3-storey, 4-bay; turnpike tower at 2nd bay from left; moulded door architrave on north face; 'Spes Mea Christus SW AP 1641' over doorway; single windows at 1st and 2nd floors on east face. Regular fenestration in 1st, 3rd and 4th bays at ground, 1st and 2nd floors.
N ELEVATION OF NORTH WING: single window at ground floor in right bay; 2 windows at 3rd floor in left bay.
W ELEVATION: 3-storey, basement and attic, 4-bay; regular fenestration; basement windows square in proportion; attic lights in 2nd and 3rd bay; door adjacent to right bay.
N ELEVATION: 3-storey, 3-bay; central door; plain surround; regular fenestration.
E ELEVATION: blind gable end.
S ELEVATION: east range; rubble; ashlar surrounds to windows; 2-storey, basement and attic, 3-bay; basement windows in each bay; single windows in outer bays at upper floors; central attic window. Gable end to west; entrance doors in right bay; modern forestair to 1st floor door; small opening with timber hatch to left at roof line.
12-pane sash and case windows; 3-pane sash and case windows at basement; modern attic lights; original door to turnpike tower. Slate roof; straight skews; ashlar stacks at north gablehead, east gablehead and centre of north wing.
Statement of Special Interest
The inscription above the main door refers to the marriage of Samuel Wilson and Anna Potoun and the translation reads: Christ is my hope. Samuel Wilson was a merchant who imported timber from the Baltics and wines from Bordeaux. When Plewlands House was built for Wilson and his new wife it lay beyond the Burgh boundaries; local tradition says this was to avoid burgh taxation. At the time of the 1st Edition O S Map, in 1856, the house still lay beyond the Municipal Boundary but was within the Parliamentary Boundary. The restoration by Basil Spence was the result of concern by the Department of Health on the future of the building. In a letter of 1 March 1952 from The Department of Health to The National Trust of Scotland the department relayed their fears that Plewlands House was threatened by property extension by the Distilleries Agency Ltd and West Lothian County Council's future road proposals for the area. The Department therefore asked for the opinion of the National Trust on the preservation of Plewlands House. The fate of Plewlands House quickly captured national attention. Lord Crawford referred to the house in his address on 'Preservation of Works of Art' to the Institute of Public Administration in August 1952 and, following a site visit, Lord Home, Minister of State, voiced his desire to see the house preserved. On 1st January 1953 Plewlands House was handed over to The National Trust of Scotland by the Misses Ferguson and, with financial aid from The Pilgrim Trust, Basil Spence was employed to restore the house. On 19th May 1953 an application was made to the Local Authority for the "conversion of Plewlands House, South Queensferry, into seven houses consisting of 2-1 apartment, 1-2 apartment and 4-3 apartment houses".
1st Edition O S Map, (1856); C McWilliam BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND. LOTHIAN (1980), p434; W F Hendrie DISCOVERING WEST LOTHIAN (1986), p130; Queensferry Association QUEENSFERRY. A GUIDED WALK (1986), p.30; C McKean EDINBURGH. AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE (1992), p167; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND VOL.XXI (1992), p.223. National Trust for Scotland Archive.
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