3 ROTHESAY TERRACE, MELVIN HOUSE (Ref:29668)
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 24125 73805.
A G Sydney Mitchell, 1883; reconstruction of 1876 terraced house; later alterations forming access to some rooms formerly part of No. 2 Rothesay Terrace (see separate listing). 4-storey, 4-bay asymmetrical townhouse over basement and attic. 2-storey canted bay to right (E), 2-storey rectangular bay to left (W); pedimented porch; distinctive multipane glazing. Entrance platt oversailing basement. Sandstone ashlar, channelled to either side of porch. Banded base course. Moulded band course at 1st floor. Moulded string course at 3rd floor; corniced eaves course. Architraved windows, corniced cills. Pilastered and pedimented timber porch to centre with relief carving in classical style. Pedimented window centred above at 1st floor. 2-storey canted (to right) and square (to left) bays. Tripartite (right) and bipartite (left) mullioned windows at 2nd floor with scrolled aprons. Windows with bracketed cills at 3rd floor (bipartite to far) left. 3 rectangular bipartite dormers at attic. Cast-iron balconies, with bombed profile above entrance and advanced bays. REAR (N) ELEVATION: 6 storeys, roughly 3 bays, slightly advanced. Regular squared coursed rubble with ashlar quoin stones, cills, lintels and rybats. Regular fenestration, with 6-storey canted bay at right. Tripartite windows at 1st 2nd and 3rd floors with similar mulitpane glazing to front (S) elevation. Elaborate mulitpane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. 18 and 15-pane glazing at upper floors. Steep double pitch M-section roof; grey slates. Corniced ashlar gable end stacks (that to E replacement) with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar cope edging basement recess to street. Cast-iron rainwater goods set behind cornice and band courses.INTERIOR: lavish Franco-Italianate interior, now converted for use as a hotel (2008). Large walnut panelled entrance hall including broad square staircase with marble treads. Gryphon craved newel posts with armorial shields. Large scroll pedimented chimneypiece of red and white marble. Dining room to rear with further panelling and two stage marble chimneypiece and timber beamed ceiling. Large drawing room to rear at 1st floor with bay window. Timber panelling and large alabaster and coloured stone fireplace by Farmer and Brindley. Deep cornice with figurative decoration. Panelled ceiling with murals depicting astrological and pastoral scenes. Library to front left of plan at 1st floor with integrated corniced bookcases and detailed timber panelling with relief carvings of putti. Some cornicing at 2nd and 3rd floor rooms and cylindrical rooflights at 3rd floor corridors.
A one off townhouse designed by Sydney Mitchell for J R Findlay Watherston the editor of the Scotsman newspaper. The design is a mannerist interpretation of the rigid classicism of the surrounding terraces. The two bays (one canted, one rectangular) are asymmetrical, as is the placement of the tripartite and bipartite windows on the upper floors. The classical detailing is deliberate and refers to the surrounding buildings. The highly detailed and intricately carved porch is also a good survival and provides evidence of the high quality craftsmanship found both inside and outside the house.
Number 3 Rothesay Terrace was owned by J R Findlay (editor of the Scotsman) and used as his entertaining space. Living space for him and his family remained in No. 2 until it was later sold. The side windows of the bay to the rear of No. 2 were blocked at this point so that the new owner would not overlook the terrace of No.3 which Findlay still owned. The rear of the house looks out over the Dean Village and Well Court. Well Court (see separate listing) was also designed by Mitchell for Findlay and was the centrepiece of Watherston's social housing scheme for the Dean Village.
In the 1930s the building served as residence for Queen Margret College 'Domestic Science Institute' before being passed to the National Health Service as a Conference Centre in the 1960s.
Arthur George Sydney Mitchell was an important Scottish architect of the later 19th century. The work for Well Court and 3 Rothesay Terrace were amongst the earliest of his commissions in independent practice and some of the best examples of his major residential works. Mitchell met Findlay through his father who was an eminent public figure. Shortly afterwards (again possibly through the influence of his father) Mitchell was appointed the architect to the Commercial Bank of Scotland. Later, after taking on George Wilson as a partner the practice also became architects to the Board for Scotland. Mitchell was an excellent designer, equally comfortable with public and private works and a master at combining various architectural styles.
Later alterations have incorporated some rooms which were formerly part of No. 2 Rothesay Terrace (see separate listing) into the interior of No. 3.
(Category changed from B to A and list description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1893-94); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 378; The Building News (1.8.1884); Sydney Mitchell and Wilson Collection, NMRS, EDD 635/1.
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