28-40(EVEN NUMBERS) MELVILLE STREET, 32 STAFFORD STREET INCLUDING RAILINGS AND ARCHED LAMP HOLDERS (Ref:29327)
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: (see Notes),
Group Cat: A,
Map Ref: NT 24390 73770.
Robert Brown; 1814, built 1825-30 (Nos. 28 Melville Street and 32 Stafford Street built 1859). Extensive classical terrace comprising unified façade of 3-storey and basement 3-bay townhouses with main-door and common stair flats behind; taller 5-bay corner block with advanced end bays to E, returning 4 bays to Stafford Street. Later attic additions to Nos. 28 and 38. Basement area to street including some vaulted cellars and retaining walls. Sandstone ashlar, droved to basement (vermiculated at corner block), channelled to ground floor. Banded base course. Banded cill and string courses at 1st floor, corniced cill course at 2nd floor, corniced eaves course. Parapet to corner block, balustraded to centre. Doorways with plain rectangular fanlights. Recessed round arched surround to outer ground floor bays at corner block. Architraved bracketed and pedimented 1st floor window, corniced surround to outer bays at corner block. Similar return to Stafford Street but with semi-circular balconies at 1st floor. Cast-iron lamp standards. Predominantly plate glass in timber sash and case. Double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar gable end and ridge stacks with modern clay cans. Single and 3-bay cast iron balconies. 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 to some, with lamp holder to centre. Glass lamp bowls to 30 and 40. Original cast-iron serpent lamp extinguisher to railings.
A-group with Melville Street, Melville Memorial and Melville Crescent (see separate listings). Melville Street is the central axis of the Walker Estate and was designed as the grandest part of the residential scheme, clearly evidenced by the centrepiece terminating Stafford Street (see separate listing). The S side of the street was completed slightly later than the N and this can be seen in more stripped back approach to the design of this part of the terrace. It is still largely unaltered and the monumental impact of the streetscape is retained, set within a wide avenue. Many original features are retained, the best of which are the serpent lamp extinguishers coiled in the railings beside the entrance to many of the houses.
Melville Street forms 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.)
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1849-53); John Wood, Plan of the City of Edinburgh, including all the latest and intended improvements (1823); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 375; Youngson, The Making of Classical Edinburgh, (1988) p. 216; West End Community Trust, Edinburgh's West End, A Short History (1984).
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