Robert Brown, 1814, built 1822-23. Extensive classical terrace comprising unified façade of 3-storey and basement 3-bay, townhouses with main-door and common stair flats behind; taller 3-storey and attic, rounded corner block returning 3-bay to Queensferry Street (E) and corner block returning to Stafford Street (W) built 1856. Basement area to street including some vaulted cellars and retaining walls. Sandstone ashlar, channelled to ground floor. Band course to ground floor. Banded cill course to 1st floor, rising to further banding between windows. Cast-iron balconies on foliate brackets to 1st floor windows.
E CORNER BLOCK: 5 symmetrical bays to Melville Street, slightly advanced end bays. Central round arched doorway, blind sidelights, radial fanlight. Pedimented central 1st floor window, architraved and corniced to outer bays. 4 unevenly spaced dormers set between flanking parapets. Pilastered round arched doorway to curved bay; corniced 1st floor window in roundarched surround, blind balustrade, architraved square 2nd floor window with narrow sidelights, carved panel to parapet. Similar 5-bay return to Queensferry Street with addition of ashlar attic storey. Later plate glass round arched openings to commercial premises at ground floor.
W CORNER BLOCK: 5 symmetrical bays to Melville Street, slightly advanced end bays. Similar to E corner block but doorway with plain rectangular fanlight and balustraded parapet. Return to Stafford Street similar to that at Melville Street but with blind window above doorway.
Predominantly 6- over 9-pane and 12-pane windows in timber sash and case; plate glass in timber sash and case to Nos. 20 and 22. Double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar parapet and gable stacks with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement recess.
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 20 and 22. Original cast-iron serpent lamp extinguisher to railings.
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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