Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Victorian Shopfront Restored

The final stage of restoring a hidden Victorian shopfront at 37-41 Nicolson Street has now begun. 

Oct 18, 2011

The property is a category C (s) listed building, purpose-built in 1899 as multi-floored shop premises and currently used as a Poundsavers Store. In 2009 the first stage of the project saw repairs to the stonework and roof, and conservation of the sculptures decorating the roof. The building has also retained its original open plan interior and decoration, including cast iron columns and ornate plastered ceilings.

Restoration work will now unveil the original Victorian shopfront, which survives largely intact beneath later timber framing. Architectural features such as a cornice, pilasters, and delicate glazing bars will be repaired, along with new double doors and appropriate paintwork. The completed project will reveal a traditional styled shopfront, in direct contrast to the modern fascia that used to be in place.

As the modern fascia is being removed it is now clear that the shopfront is at least 50 years older than the rest of the building, and was actually part of the Georgian tenement which was on the site before the new shop was built in 1899.

Fiona MacDonald, Conservation Architect for Edinburgh World Heritage said: “This is an exciting opportunity to rejuvenate a key route into the World Heritage Site. Sensitive restoration work on such a prominent building will make a real difference to both the visual impact and character of the street in this busy district of the city.”

History of the building

This late Victorian commercial building was designed by the architect Peter L. Henderson (1848-1912). 37-41 Nicolson Street represents a work of significance for the architect, Henderson, who was essentially a brewers’ and licensed trades architect, known for the predominantly industrial nature of his work.

The building was originally known as ‘McIntyre's drapery stores’. John McIntyre & Co were ‘Warehousemen and Costumiers of ladies’ dress’, who used the three public sales floors of 37-41 Nicolson Street to sell their wares. The building followed the lead set by larger stores in Edinburgh such as Jenners Department Store, designed by William Hamilton Beattie and built 1893-5.

Below: Architects' drawing of the restored shopfront.

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