A Fascinating History
The Edinburgh Residence buildings are part of Edinburgh’s history, dating back to 1872 when the building was originally designed and developed.
Rothesay Terrace, where the Edinburgh Residence is situated, has always been one of the most sought after places to live in Edinburgh. In days gone by, the grand old buildings of this impressive street were all family homes. Number 7 has a particularly impressive history, having been built in 1891 for the Lord Advocate of Scotland.
In the creation of The Edinburgh Residence, when the interiors of three original townhouses were converted and combined into one stunning property with 29 luxury apartments, every care was taken to restore the architectural features to their former Georgian splendour.
Rothesay Terrace was named after the royal title the Duke of Rothesay, given in Scotland to the reigning monarch’s elder son. (currently – Prince Charles). At the time the plan for streets were assembled, the title belonged to George Prince Regent, who later became King George IV
In 1808 Robert Brown made a plan for developing a large part of this land, with what is known as Melville Street to the main axis. This was and still can be referred to as the West End Development. Melville Street was at least partly built by 1825-6, the rest followed slowly – even by mid century, saturation point had been reached for this type of residential development – resulting in the Rothesay development being entrusted to the architectural firm of Peddie and Kinnear in 1872.
It was initially said that the Georgian houses looked grand but were not very well built and sometimes positively unsanitary. Eventually all of these design defects were ironed out so that the last houses, in which Rothesay Terrace belongs, avoided the worst excesses of the Georgians.
The significance of King George IV, after whom the Rothesay streets are named, was that his visit to Edinburgh in 1822 (masterminded by Sir Walter Scott acting as an early day public relations manager) ‘rehabilitated’ the Highlands. Only after the king’s visit was it no longer seen as savage, but romantic and mysterious. Sir Walter Scott persuaded everyone to dress up in Highland costume – including the king – and hence ushered in the romantic image of tartan and The Highlands. The king’s statue can be viewed at the George Street and Hanover Street crossroads.
Designed and developed in 1872 by the Peddie and Kinnear architects in the Walker Estate, numbers seven and eight were built in the early 1890’s. The builder for this project was John Watherson and Sons. It wasn’t until the latter part of the 1890’s that the remainder of the crescent was completed.
In 1891, the first person to occupy number seven became Mr. Andrew Graham Murray, who was an advocate. In 1892 he became a QC, Solicitor General for Scotland and a Minister of Parliament. He would later become Lord Advocate for Scotland. It is said he enjoyed shooting and cycling for recreation, as well as the great Scottish sport of golf.
The first occupier of No.9 Rothesay Terrace was James Pringle, born and educated in Leith. He would become the Managing Director of Thomas and James Bernard brewers in Edinburgh and a Director of the Thomas Bernard Company, Maltsers.
In the creation of The Edinburgh Residence every care has been taken to retain the highly welcoming atmosphere of a real home, bringing back to life the Georgian house on the quiet West End Terrace.