Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Hillside Crescent Conservation Projects

Three category B listed buildings on Hillside Crescent and Hillside Street are undergoing major conservation works.

Jan 11, 2010

Three category B listed buildings on Hillside Crescent and Hillside Street are undergoing major conservation works funded by grants from Edinburgh World Heritage, in collaboration with the owners and the City of Edinburgh Council's Property Conservation team. The work is part of the EWH Conservation Funding Programme, which looks to enhance and preserve the historic values of the World Heritage Site.

The grants to the three properties total £157,000 and will directly fund works to the front elevations of the buildings including decorative and structural stonework and the rebuilding of bay windows, along with work to the roof and chimneys.

Hillside Crescent was built in the 1880s as part of William Playfair’s design for the Eastern New Town plan of 1818.

Playfair was a student of William Stark, who was appointed to judge a competition for developing the Calton Hill area in 1812. He rejected all the entries however, and no winner was nominated. Instead he wrote a subsequently very influential report on the appropriate approach to development around the hill.

He encouraged consideration of the contours of the land and inclusion of trees over rigidly symmetrical layouts. His arguments persuaded the commissioners and they later approved Playfair’s scheme of 1818 which was in accordance with his advice, accentuating the natural rise of the slope by curving around it and radiating from it.

Construction of Playfair’s Eastern New Town scheme began in 1825 but was halted in 1838 due to a variety of problems. When it recommenced in 1880 his design had been reworked by John Chesser in a more contemporary fashion, although retaining the original street plan and some characteristics of Greek revival architecture, including the Doric columns and cornices found on Hillside Crescent today.

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