13, 15 BELL'S BRAE (FORMERLY OLD TOLLBOOTH OR CATHEDRAL MISSION) (Ref:28293)
This building is in the Edinburgh, City Of Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 14/12/1970.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 24153 73922.
Dated 1675; later alterations, including chapel by R S Lorimer, 1900; converted to flats 1976, F R Stevenson. Roughly 12-bay, 4-storey, rectangular-plan former granary with crowstepped gables, two advanced crowstepped stair towers to S; on ground falling to W. Painted harl; raised chamfered margins. Moulded corniced and keystoned doorways in re-entrant angle to stair towers, dated keystone to E, 1675. Roll moulded blind doorway to W stair tower with carved relief panel over of cherubs heads scales and cakes; entablature inscribed GOD BLESS THE BAXTERS OF EDINBURGH UHO BULT THIS HOUS 1675. Roughly regular fenestration with some blind windows at 2nd floor; round arched ashlar bellcote (1900) to W. Predominantly plate glass in timber sash and case windows, some lattice windows over timber shutters to stair towers from 1976. Pitched roof; grey slates. Coped rendered gable end stacks with modern clay cans. Cast iron rainwater goods.
A fine early granary with original design retained faithfully to the exterior. The building was built for the Baxter's Incorporation of Edinburgh in 1675. The Dean village contained a range of small scale industries at this time powered by the fast flowing water of Leith and providing goods to the City of Edinburgh. In addition to the granary there was also Bell's Mills (see separate listing) and a tannery. The granary was a large building for its time and can be seen in Slezers print dominating the other buildings in the village, indicating the wealth of the incorporation of Baxters in the 17th century. The building was altered in 1900 by Robert Lorimer to become the Cathedral Mission for St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral. These alterations included the insertion of a chapel (with an altarpiece by Phoebe Anna Traquair) and a bellcote. Parts of a decorative ceiling still survive on the 1st floor, although there has been some later alteration. The other internal work was removed before the buildings were converted into flats in 1976, it was at this point that crowsteps were restored to the stair turrets.
(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
John Slezer, The Prospect of Edinburgh from Ye Dean (1710) evident; Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1849-53); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 394; http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk (accessed 6/6/08).
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