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This building is in the Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Burgh. It is a category A building and was listed on 15/06/1965.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NT 2405 7390.


Sydney Mitchell and Wilson, 1883¿6 with later repairs and rennovation 2009. 4- and 5-storey with some attics; significant complex of 54 flats and separate former common hall (Woodbarn Hall), Renaissance Freestyle. Roughly rectangular plan set around central courtyard, in picturesque setting beside the Water of Leith. Coursed squared rubble with red sandstone dressings. Deep overhanging eaves; various crowstepped and shaped gables, some advanced. Large round arched pend to N with red sandstone dressings and red brick vault. Roughly regular fenestration, with some bipartite windows. Some rectangular dormers to attic with catslide roofs.

Predominantly small pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Pitched roof with some catslides; red clay tiles. Coped rubble gable end and ridge stacks, predominantly modern cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: characterised by a series of small flats accessed off common stairs. Large arched openings to landings with cast-iron railings incorporating thistle pattern to spikes. Stairs predominantly brick with curved handrails. Flats predominantly 1 or 2 rooms with small kitchens and bathrooms.

WOODBARN HALL: large detached rectangular plan hall with central tower. Moulded cill course at 1st floor. Prominent corbelled canted transomed and mullioned 4-light bays to S with tall conical tiled roofs. Roughly regular fenestration. TOWER: large tower to centre with prominent clock-face to S and E sides; corbelled crenellated parapet; arcaded timber louvers above with shaped leaded roof and cast-iron weathervane.

BOUNDARY WALLS: coursed random rubble with sandstone ashlar copes.


Well Court is a fine example of a picturesque composition, exploiting its prominent site on the Water of Leith. It forms a significant example of 19th century social housing, designed by a high profile architect, A G Sydney Mitchell. The building was commissioned by John R Findlay, the proprietor of the Scotsman newspaper, as social housing for artisans and tradesmen from the Dean Village. The flats were leased for affordable rents in return for the tenants respecting rules of temperance and attendance at Church on Sundays. The design had several other social measures, including the provision of a common hall for reading and recreation. A factor¿s house was also placed in the central courtyard. The building was an act of social benefaction on the part of Findlay, to help the occupants of the Dean Village after the large mills which had sustained the population began to move out of the area in the late 19th century. The building also had a significant function in improving the amenity of the area and took account of earlier traditional buildings in the area. Findlay¿s house at 3 Rothesay Terrace (see separate listing) overlooked the Dean Village, and Well Court. 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 of Lunacy for Scotland. Mitchell was an excellent designer, equally comfortable with public and private works and a master at combining various architectural styles. A programme of repair and renovation was completed in 2009 with the assistance of Edinburgh World Heritage. List description revised as part of resurvey (2009).


Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan (1893-4); J G Bartholomew, Plan of Edinburgh and Leith, from Survey Atlas of Scotland, (1912); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 394; RCAHMS 81580 PO, Ink Plans, (1889).

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).