242-244 (EVEN NOS) CANONGATE, (CHESSEL'S COURT N BLOCK) (Ref:51173)
This building is in the Edinburgh, City Of Council and the
It is a category B building and was listed on 14/12/1970.
Group Items: See Notes,
Group Cat: A,
Map Ref: NT 26225 73700.
1963-64, Robert Hurd and Partners (free version of 1769 original - see Notes). 4-storey and attic, 6-bay tenement with central wall-head gable. Squared and snecked rubble with ashalr dressings. Wide, moulded basket-arch pedestrian pend to centre leading through to Chessel's Court. Shop to right. Pair of round arched windows at 3rd floor centre. 2-window nepus gable with oculus to centre and stack at apex. Rear (N) elevation: slightly advanced 4-bay central section gable with urn finials at shoulders. Predominantly 15-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Grey slate. Coped skews. Gable stacks and end stack to W. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
No 242-244 Canongate is a prominently situated 20th century free version of a 18th century tenement whose rear elevation forms a major component of the N side of Chessel's Court. It is an important example of the work of Robert Hurd and Partners and a pivotal building in the regeneration work in the Canongate during the 1960s. Its symmetrical streetfacing elevation adds considerable height and massing to this section of the Canongate.
The S and W blocks of Chessel's Court were restored in 1963-5 while the N block was rebuilt in its entirety. Together with the S block (Nos 3, 4, 5, 6, and 6B Chessels Court) and the W block (Nos 1 and 2 Chessel's Court - see separate listings) they acted as a `test case' model for further systematic restoration of the area by Robert Hurd and other architects. On completion, the Chessel's Court project provided 82 houses, 1 school and schoolhouse, 4 shops, 1 public house and further office space. Using a range of contemporary approaches to restoration within the scope of a limited housing fund budget, a unified scheme was achieved.
The historic and architectural value of Edinburgh's Canongate area as a whole cannot be overstated. Embodying a spirit of permanence while constantly evolving, its buildings reflect nearly 1000 years of political, religious and civic development in Scotland. Throughout the 19th Century the Canongate's prosperity declined as large sections of the nobility and middle classes moved out of the area in favour of the grandeur and improved facilities of Edinburgh's New Town. The Improvement Act of 1867 made efforts to address this, responding early on with large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment of entire street frontages. A further Improvement Act (1893) was in part a reaction to this `maximum intervention', responding with a programme of relatively small-scale changes within the existing street pattern. This latter approach was more consistent with Patrick Geddes' concept of `conservative surgery'. A renowned intellectual, Geddes, who lived in the Old Town, was a pioneer of the modern conservation movement in Scotland which gathered momentum throughout the 20th century. Extensive rebuilding and infilling of sections of the Canongate's many tenements took place, most notably by city architects, E J McRae and Robert Hurd (mid 20th century) with some early frontages retained and others rebuilt in replica.
Prior to resurvey, the collective statutory address for the S, W and N blocks at Chessel's Court was `CANONGATE 240 CHESSEL'S COURT'. The three buildings were listed individually at resurvey in 2007/08
Part of A-group with `3, 4, 5, 6 and 6B CHESSEL'S COURT (S BLOCK)' and `1 and 2 CHESSEL'S COURT (WEST BLOCK)' (see separate listings).
List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey, 2007/08.
E J MacRae, The Royal Mile (1962) p41. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p213. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p29. Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk (accessed 10.05.2007)
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