Did you know that there are approximately 47,700 listed buildings in Scotland? Listing refers to a structure designated as being of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. Listed buildings are not only significant for their architectural or historical interest, many of them have social or cultural significance, for instance an association with a person or an event.
Albany Street, opposite our Edinburgh studio is fascinating, not only for its architectural merit (many of the properties are A-listed) but also for its variety of nineteenth century residents. Significant people that lived on the street include novelists Mary Brunton and Susan Ferrier, Catherine Hogarth (Mrs Charles Dickens), the Head of the London Metropolitan Police James Monro, scientist and mathematician Professor John Playfair, and architects James Gillespie Graham and William Henry Playfair. The first ever use of chloroform for easing childbirth took place in the street by James Young Simpson and German composer Felix Mendelssohn stayed there during which time he began composing his Scottish Symphony.
In Edinburgh, there are over 4,500 listed buildings and approximately 900 are listed at Category A. Amazingly, this is more than any other city in the world. It’s hard to imagine a city such as Edinburgh without its built heritage, defining Scotland’s history, enriching the day-to-day life of residents and shaping its future.
Take Donaldson’s College, a prime example of work by Playfair, one of Scotland’s most famous architects. Its multi-turreted roofs puncture the skyline and contribute significantly to the old and new towns of Edinburgh World Heritage site. Purcell produced a condition survey with recommendations for its conservation and repair.
On social value, Senior Architect Scott Lindsay says, “In the repair and continued use of historic buildings, this significance can be retained and enhanced, providing unique spaces when repurposed for use in the 21st century. We all have a duty as custodians of these buildings for our future generations. In the conservation and restoration of these buildings, we can ensure that they contribute to our communities for years to come.”