Edinburgh World Heritage - Well Court Case Study


Well Court Case Study

Well Court is a category A listed courtyard building located in the Dean Village, just within the World Heritage Site boundary on the north side of the Water of Leith. In an extensive conservation scheme, carried out by the 55 owners in collaboration with EWH, the appearance and stability of the structure was considerably improved.

EWH granted a total of £1.1 million towards conservation work on stonework, roof, windows, clock tower and communal areas. Work in public areas such as the courtyard was funded directly by EWH, while the restoration of the main building was paid for partly by the owners and partly through a repayable grant from EWH, which is paid back upon transfer or sales of the properties.

Work started in February 2007 following the premise of minimal repair based purely on need. Only traditional materials were used, going through great efforts to match properties and colour. The characteristic red sandstone was sourced from a quarry in Dumfries and the roof tiles were handmade to match the originals.

The window glazing was restored to its original pattern. The original colour scheme was successfully reproduced after being identified through surviving paintwork on the windows in the stair.

The weathercock and clock faces atop the landmark clock tower were re-gilded tanks to donations from the Inches Carr Trust, the Blythe Family Trust and Ritchies Clockmakers.


Well Court was commissioned in the 1880's by Sir John Findlay who was the proprietor of the Scotsman newspaper.

The architect Sydney Mitchell designed Well Court as model housing for local workers and it was finished in 1886. There were many comforts in living at Well Court: a communal hall, a large courtyard small but comfortable flats, most with kitchens and sculleries. Nevertheless, residency came with certain obligations. There was a night time curfew and attendance at Sunday church service held in the Communal Hall was compulsory.

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