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Edinburgh, 28 Beaverbank Place, Charles Laing And Sons Ltd

Brass Foundry (Period Unassigned), Iron Foundry (19th Century)-(20th Century), Tannery (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, 28 Beaverbank Place, Charles Laing And Sons Ltd

Classification Brass Foundry (Period Unassigned), Iron Foundry (19th Century)-(20th Century), Tannery (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 319610

Site Number NT27NE 1673

NGR NT 25532 75285

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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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


Note (2 October 2012)

Charles Laing and Sons Ltd specialise in conservation ironwork and brass founding. Laing's is housed in a former skin works or tannery and has been a brass and iron foundry since 1942. From about 1920, and until 1942, the company was located at a different site to the west of the present works.

The original tannery buildings are in evidence and are now used as the furnace room, mould making and casting area, cast dressing (or finishing) area and core making area. Later additions to the original tannery from the 1940s are also clearly visible on the south and to the north. These are used as pattern stores and mould box making up areas for smaller castings. A lade runs along the north boundary of the works.

Information from RCAHMS (MMD) and Andrew Laing (present owner of Charles Laing and Sons Ltd and grandson of founder of the company), 2 October 2012

Photographic Survey (August 2014)

A photographic survey was carried out at Charles Laing and Sons Ltd as it is the only green sand foundry left in Scotland.

Information from Mr Andrew Laing, owner of Charles Laing and Sons Ltd, August 2014.

Excavation (7 March 2018 - 26 July 2018)

NT 2551 7524 A 10% trial trenching evaluation was undertaken, 8 – 14 March 2018, in advance of a proposed development to the E side of Beaverbank Place. A total of six 16m long trenches were excavated. Upstanding remains, the majority of which relate to buildings shown on the 1877 and 1896 OS maps, were recorded in all six trenches. The most prominent features were a series of brick-built pits recorded in two trenches. These included brick walls and floors, which were interpreted as tanning pits associated with the 19th-century tannery. Additional pits were also observed beyond the limits of the trenches. A limited number of brick walls relating to the tannery were also recorded in the S half of the site. Walls associated with later phases of expansion and alteration to the site were recorded in the N half of the development area.

Archive: NRHE

Funder: CCG (Scotland) Ltd

Donald Wilson – Headland Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES Vol 19)

OASIS ID: headland1-312319

Excavation (2019)

NT 2553 7523 Following an evaluation in 2018, which revealed tanning pits from a 19th century tannery, an excavation took place prior to development.

The excavation was carried out in two parts and the two areas reflected the differing histories of the site. The N area largely contained features associated with buildings depicted on maps from 1877 onwards. The early buildings were cleared from the area around 1910 and a garage was built on this part of the site by the 1930s. These buildings were not demolished until recently.

The S area was dominated by the tannery built during the third quarter of the 19th century. It comprised around 100 tanning pits. There was some evidence of minor alterations to the pits over time and some later pits to the south had improved designs with drains built into the base of the pits. The tannery went out of use and was converted into a cooperage in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

An earlier stone-lined rectangular pit was uncovered below the tannery at the south end of the site. Although it is of unknown date, its fill contained 19th century pot sherds and it is thought to be related to Logie Mill located nearby.

Archive: NHRE (intended)

Funder: CCG (Scotland) Ltd

Don Wilson and Magnar Dalland – Headland Archaeology

(Source: DES Vol 20)


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