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Edinburgh, Candlemaker Row

Brewery (19th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Candlemaker Row

Classification Brewery (19th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) George Heriot's School

Canmore ID 295817

Site Number NT27SE 5987

NGR NT 2560 7330

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian


Watching Brief (15 October 2007 - 17 October 2007)

NT 2560 7330 Small-scale archaeological monitoring of four small engineering test pits was undertaken on 15-17 October 2007 at the old Mining Institute building, Grassmarket Campus, Heriot-Watt University. The site, which will be redeveloped, is located immediately N of Greyfriar's Kirkyard, behind the Grassmarket and could overlie the course of the Flodden Wall.

The monitoring, which was to ascertain the depth of the building foundations, revealed evidence for an 18th-century brewery, called 'Castle Brewery' on 1876 OS map.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS, CECAS.

Standing Building Recording (August 2009 - September 2009)

NT 2560 7330 Works at the site in August–September 2009 included a desk-based assessment, the recording of the 1950s pharmacy building in advance of its demolition, and a survey of the outside of the Greyfriars churchyard boundary walls where they face into the Grassmarket Campus site.

The pharmacy building was on the site of the early 19th-century Castle Brewery, which was built on the site of

tenements that dated from at least the mid 17th century. In 1913 a new Department of Mining was established in the former Castle Brewery buildings at Heriot Watt College. The Mining Institute which included a Mine Rescue Station, one of only two in Scotland, was opened in 1915. However, the facilities proved to be inadequate and were remodelled in 1926. The main brewery building was retained but the smaller outbuildings were cleared. The growth of Heriot Watt College in the mid 20th century included an increase in the number of pharmacy students, and new pharmacy buildings were constructed on the Grassmarket Campus in 1951–2. The Z-plan Pharmacy Department building occupied the eastern and part of the southern side of the Grassmarket campus, the site of the former malt house and brass works. A comprehensive photographic survey was made of the 1952 pharmacy building.

The E and S sides of the campus site are enclosed by the boundary walls of Greyfriars churchyard. A drawn record, photographic survey and written description of the rear (school) side of the walls was produced. It has been suggested that the E–W aligned section of this wall may incorporate parts of the 16th-century Flodden Wall. The site survey and analysis of historical documents revealed that while it was unlikely that in situ segments of the wall remained, it was possible that parts of the city wall were incorporated into the 18th-century property boundary wall constructed on the same alignment. The visible parts of the cemetery wall were

found to have been created in sections at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, and each of these related to the construction of individual burial-plots. Fragmentary upstanding wall sections of pre-existing tenement buildings were recorded at the extreme SE corner of the site, a narrow pend existed between these and the cemetery wall.

Archive: CECAS SMR and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: George Heriot’s School

Amanda Gow, Kenneth Macfadyen and Tanja Romankiewicz – Addyman Archaeology

Excavation (March 2010 - January 2011)

NT 2560 7330 An excavation was undertaken March 2010–January 2011 prior to development work. The archaeological potential of the area was considered high as the 16th-century Flodden Wall effectively defines the southern and eastern limits of the site and numerous structures are depicted on the backland areas of the riggs running S from the Lawn Market in Rothiemay’s view of 1647. However, the site has also seen several phases of rebuilding, with a series of increasingly large industrial structures shown on 19th- and 20th-century maps.

The excavations quickly confirmed that the northern lower part of the site had been heavily terraced into the natural clay, leaving no surviving archaeological remains. However, the ground surface within some areas of the southern half of the site survived to more than 2m higher. Remains recorded in this area consisted of the remnants of a deep basement to the E and the degraded fragments of structures to the W. The remains could not be dated to much before the 19th century and related to the successive industrial structures that had been built across the site. The construction of these buildings had removed any traces of earlier archaeology.

The lower parts of the upstanding eastern boundary wall, towards Greyfriars cemetery, contained the in situ remains of the basement and first floor of one early structure, complete with blocked windows and entrances, which formerly led into a narrow close bounded on its opposite side by the Flodden Wall. A fireplace was recorded in the lower part of what was probably the southern gable wall of the structure. The close between the boundary wall and the retaining wall of the graveyard (possibly containing parts of the Flodden Wall) proved to be a narrow, infilled feature.

A brick-vaulted tunnel was also exposed in the SW part of the site. This ran for a short distance into a previously known wide and deep well/mine shaft. This was uncovered and recorded in advance of new capping being fitted to the shaft.

Archive: CECAS and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: George Heriot’s School

Addyman Archaeology 2011


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