Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


EWH grant for Canongate landmark

Edinburgh World Heritage is helping to fund repairs to Bible Land, a 300 year old tenement in the Canongate.

Oct 29, 2015

The building takes its popular name from the carved plaque above its main door, which shows an open bible with an inscription from the psalms. It was built for the Canongate Incorporation of Cordiners or shoemakers in 1677, and the plaque also shows their craft symbol, the distinctive curved knife used for cutting leather.

In the 1950s the building was restored by the architect Robert Hurd, as part of a ground-breaking series of projects to improve historic buildings in the Canongate. The commission was the first time that the city council stepped in to save an entire street, promoting the value of conservation over demolition. The work undertaken was extensive, and often involved taking down whole frontages and rebuilding them to a wider and straighter building line.

Hurd took on Ian Begg as an assistant to help with the work, who himself went on to play a key part in the conservation of Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns. On his death, Robert Hurd was buried in the Canongate Kirkyard, in honour of his contribution to the area.

The EWH repayable grant of £97,000 will help towards the costs of a series of to the exterior of the tenement. The work will include stonework repairs to the front and rear elevations and chimneys, along with areas of re-pointing with lime mortar. The cast-iron gutters and downpipes will be repaired, as well as re-slating parts of the roof, renovating windows, and repainting of the rear elevation. It is expected that work will be completed in December. Below left: A view of Bible Land with its distinctive roofline. Below right: Lead hopper with the date of the building's restoration by Robert Hurd.

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