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Publication Account

Date 1951

Event ID 1096487

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


126 (a). 5B York Place.

In 1792, one year after the penal laws against Episcopalians had been rescinded, James Adam designed St. George's Episcopal Chapel, which has recently been converted into the warehouse at No. 5B York Place. Some of the original contract-drawings, signed and dated by Adam and endorsed by the contractors, are exhibited on the premises. This chapel and the manse next door are of special interest as being the only excursions into the "Gothick" style upon which Adam ventured in Edinburgh, although in the suburbs there is Braid House (No. 187) which has so much in common with these buildings in York Place as to suggest that he was responsible for it also. On plan the body of the chapel was octagonal, rising to a lantern, and all round it ran a low aisle, also octagonal, which opened into the central area by an arcade elaborately decorated in plaster. The altar stood in the E. bay of the aisle. The other bays were divided horizontally by galleries,* and from the W. gallery the organ faced the altar. Below the chapel was a vaulted cellarage, ingeniously planned in a fashion recalling the undercroft of the "dome " at the Register House (No. 129). This cellarage was rented by a neighbouring firm of wine-merchants, who fitted it up with stone bins or "catacombs," for the storage of their wines.

As the building stands to-day the cellarage remains unaltered. On the street floor the front has been squared up in alinement with the central entrance-porch. The interior of the chapel, apart from the arcade and the lantern that it supports, has been gutted and an upper floor has been introduced. The tracery of the lantern windows has been replaced by wooden frames.

RCAHMS 1951, visited c.1941

*From 1810 to 1826 Walter Scott rented a pew in the north gallery.

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