The New Town Paving Study was jointly commissioned by Edinburgh World Heritage and City of Edinburgh Council, and reflects the ongoing interest in the survival of areas of historic paving, and finding appropriate replacement stone for use in worn or broken areas.
The study has identified the remaining areas of original flagstones, and drawn together the relevant archive sources to establish criteria which will be used to inform decisions on the selection and use of new materials. It will also ensure the preservation of original stones and patterns of laying, such as those on the north side of Charlotte Square.
The information gathered is essential to inform future local policy on the use of new stone for paving in the World Heritage Site. It will also help in the planning future schemes and ensure that routine maintenance is carried out whilst preserving historic areas of paving.
Nick Haynes, IHBC Historic Buildings Consultant, was appointed to research the materials used for the paving laid in the First New Town between 1767 and 1820.
Nick said: “Hailes Quarry, to the south-west of the city, appears to have been the principal source of paving stone until the early 19th century. From the outset in 1767 the Town Council was determined that the New Town streets would be properly paved in stone at the expense of the developers and proprietors. As a result there was often a continuity of paving stone between the private entrance steps and basement areas and the public pavement. With the notable exception of the north side of Charlotte Square, very few stone pavements survived the mid 20th century enthusiasm for precast concrete.”