Circa 1790; late 19th century alterations. 3-storey, 7-bay main block; 4-storey central entrance octagonal tower (N) / bow (S); 3-storey, 4-bay extension to W; E pavilion; W wing. Polished sandstone ashlar. Band course at 1st and 2nd floors.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3-bay, 3-storey central octagonal tower; vermiculated rusticated ground floor; perron stair to 1st floor; arcaded 1st floor with Ionic columns; central door; flanking single windows; blind balustrade above; single window to each face at 2nd and 3rd floors. 2 bays, 2-storeys flanking to E; regular fenestration; 4-bay blind arcade leading to projecting, 1 1/2 storey former pavilion; central open arch and flanking windows to pavilion. 6-bay, 2-storeys flanking tower to W; regular fenestration; 4-bay arcading to basement of later extension. Projecting 1 1/2 storey, 3-bay W wing; projecting centre bay; recessed arch; Serlian window; flanking bipartite lights and single lights above; single windows at each storey to E return; garage door to W return.
E ELEVATION: 3-bay, 3-storey gable-end; central door at ground; central wall head with fire-escape and stair. 5-bay Doric colonnade to rear of pavilion link; doors in outer bays; modern infill.
S ELEVATION: 3-bay, 3-storey central bow tower; single windows to ground; perron stair and cast-iron balcony to principal floor; carved shell fountain to front of perron stair architraves to windows at 1st floor; single windows to each bay at 2nd and 3rd floors; open balustrade above. Elliptical arched recesses with tripartite lights at 1st floor flanking bow; single windows above and below. 5-bay section to W; 5-bay Doric colonnade at ground floor; single windows in 2nd and 4th bays at 1st floor; single windows in 1st, 3rd and 5th bays at 2nd floor. Projecting 1 1/2 storey, 3-bay W wing; projecting centre bay; recessed arch; Serlian window; flanking bipartite lights and single lights above; single windows at each storey to E return; 2 windows and door to W return.
W ELEVATION: U-plan courtyard; wings at N and S; round gatepiers with timber gate; 1 1/2 storey U-plan range; 5-bay central range with regular fenestration; single bay returns. Single window to off centre at 3rd floor of main house; attic dormer window above.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Slate roof; wallhead stacks to E and W gable ends; stacks along roof.
INTERIOR: Adamesque decoration; re-decorated 1915-16. Octagonal yellow Entrance Hall at ground floor; pilastered arched doorways at SE and SW; classical fireplace on S wall with sacrificial relief to centre of mantel; classical medallions on walls. Green Room (Head's Office) to rear of hall in S bow; classical cornice with trigylphs, floral medallions, dentils and beading, some details gilded; cornice of door architrave decorated with trigylphs and urn motif; roccco sunburst at light hanging; decorative chimneypiece with urn and griffins in central section. Pink Music Room at ground floor to E; full length of house; floral medallions on cornice; egg and dart above; sunbursts at light hangings; Ionic pilasters on walls; egg and dart architrave frames on walls; vine relief in one frame; decorative chimneypiece with floral garlands. Spearmint ground floor room at W facing S (former Dining Room); decorative cornice; urn motifs to door cornices; paired Ionic columns and pilasters towards W end; fireplace with attached Ionic columns, triglyph frieze and rustic sacrificial scene in centre. Beige stairwell at W facing N; cornice of trigylph and floral medallion; open-well with timber banister.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with Ravelston Tower, Dovecot, Entrance Gateway and Boundary Walls, Garden Walls of No 37 and No 87, Queensferry Road Entrance Gate, ice-houses and 31 & 33 Ravelston Dykes Road. The old tower house at Ravelston was erected by George Foulis, who purchased the estate in 1620. The new mansion house was probably built by Alexander Keith in the late 18th century; he died in 1792. The site chosen for the new house was one that offered splendid views over Edinburgh, Corstorphine Hill and the Pentlands. The new house has a marked similarity to Robert Adam's design at Bellevue, which was built for General Scott. The interior of the house was re-done in 1915-16 by Mrs Norah Clark but the work retained the Adamesque style of the original. The new school buildings (not included in the listing) were built in 1964-7 and were designed by William H Kininmouth. This scheme was built especially for the Mary Erskine School, which moved from its Queen Street property to Ravelston House in 1967. Mary Erskine was a female merchant burgess, who lived in Edinburgh during the 17th century. In 1694 she gave a 10,000 merks to the town for the education of daughters of merchant burgesses and this was the foundation of the Mary Erskine School.
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, 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 www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.
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.
Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.