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Edinburgh, 55 Abbeyhill, Police Station

Community Centre (20th Century), Police Station (19th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 55 Abbeyhill, Police Station

Classification Community Centre (20th Century), Police Station (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Armenian Community Culture Centre

Canmore ID 302351

Site Number NT27SE 6069

NGR NT 26812 74110

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

Site Management (15 February 2012)

Single storey, 6-bay, irregular-plan castellated Romanesque former Police Station with distinctive advanced finialled, conical-roofed fishscale slated corner turrets and deep corbelled and battlemented parapet. Snecked, rock-faced red sandstone. Deep chamfered base course, band course. Animal figure gargoyles. Central round-arched chamfered doorway with recessed 2-leaf studded timber entrance door with semi-circular fanlight above. Round-arched window openings with roll-moulded architraves, some with stone column mullions. Gabled, louvred, timber lucarnes to turrets. Later metal grids obscure windows. Grey slates. Red ridge tiles with ball finial details. Cast iron rainwater goods with decorative hoppers.

This is a richly detailed building in an unusual castellated Romanesque style which makes a significant contribution to the streetscape of this architecturally diverse area of Edinburgh. Little altered externally, the red sandstone distinguishes the building from others in the vicinity. The quality of the stonework is particularly fine with its battlemented parapet and gargoyles. The fishscale slating to the corner turrets is a further mark of the attention to detail with characterises this building. A small single-storey flat-roofed block to the rear of the building (West) may be the old police cells.

At the end of the 19th century, this area of Abbeyhill was dominated by heavy industry with a chemical works and two breweries situated close to this former Police Station, and with the railway line running close to the rear of the station. While the railway remains the heavy industry has gone. Robert Morham (1839-1912) was an Edinburgh-based architect who became the City Superintendent of Works in 1873. Currently disused (2007). (Historic Scotland)


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (25 June 2002)

Gargoyle heads with open mouths, possibly gutter outlets, along string course of building.

Built by Robert Morham as a police station. ('The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh' gives the date as 1896.) The building has been the Armenian Community Culture Centre since 1979.

Inspected By : A. Campbell

Inscriptions : None

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : 1894-1896

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0422)


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