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Architecture Notes

Event ID 827079

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


NT27SE 4647 26156 72681

See also NT27SE 513 and NT27SE 1983.04

The former printing works of Messrs. Thomas Nelson & Sons was situated in what is now Hope Park Crescent. Originally Hope Park End and at one time (1868-9 PO Directory) in Buccleuch Street.

The works occupied the site of an earlier 16th century gable-ended house which was pulled down by Messrs Nelson in 1843 and was traditionally said to have been inhabited by George Heriot. Several parts of the house were kept, including pieces of wood with the initials G.H., cut in them. The Rev. Dr Steven, governor of the hospital stated that it was "the country residence of the founder of the hospital", these perished in the fire of 1878, but another was preserved.

The printing firm of Messrs. Nelson & Sons were originally established by the a Mr Thomas Nelson, born in 1780, at Throsk, Stirlingshire, whose first premesis were in a small shop at the head of the West Bow.

The original Nelson's works in Hope Park consisted of a range of three conjoined blocks of 'neat and plain design forming as many sides of a square' which were one of the largest businesses in Edinburgh at that time. The building was of three storeys, and machinery was used where possible. By 1870, Messrs. Nelson employed some 600 people manufacturing inks and varnishes to be used in printing and bookbinding.

The buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1878 and Nelsons then constructed new works at Parkside, old Dalkeith Road (NT27SE 513). In 1881, as a commemoration of assistance given to the firm by the city, Messrs. Nelson erected the two pillars surmounted by the Unicorn and Lion at the entrance to Melville Drive (NT27SE 1983.04).

Information from Grants Old and New Edinburgh, 1882; RCAHMS (DE), October 2002

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