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South Queensferry, 17 High Street, Queensferry Arms Hotel

House (17th Century)

Site Name South Queensferry, 17 High Street, Queensferry Arms Hotel

Classification House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Orocco Pier Hotel

Canmore ID 50628

Site Number NT17NW 82

NGR NT 12989 78372

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Dalmeny
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT17NW 82 12989 78372

The hotel stands on the site of a former distillery.

'A large mass of buildings at the end of Gote Lane (now Hillwood Place) near the harbour, established in 1828 by the Glenforth Distillery Co. It manufactures from 2,00 to 2,500 gallons weekly and gives constant employement to 13 men. It is the property of Mr R Wyld of Gilston, county of Fife.

Ordnance Survey Name Book, 1856

17th century. The Queensferry Arms Hotel is a two storey building with grey slate roof.

Site recorded by GUARD during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, 'The Firth of Forth from Dunbar to the Coast of Fife' 25th February 1996.

Magnus Kirby in a report on a watching brief undertaken by CFA Archaeology Ltd at the Orocco Hotel (formerly the Queensferry Arms Hotel), notes that the RCAHMS record erroneously identifies that building with the site of Glenforth Distillery. The distillery buildings lay adjacent to the W (NT17NW 310).

Information from RCAHMS (PMcK) 13 October 2010.

M Kirby 2009 RCAHMS Manuscript MS 6271


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 (8 October 2002)

E. side - Queensferry arms: St Margaret standing in a boat on the sea; a crown above.

W. side - Cross 'patonce' (red), 5 martlets or doves (white) on blue background; a crown above

The cross and birds are the family arms of St Margaret, the same as those mythically ascribed to her uncle, Edward the Confessor. A martlet is an imaginary footless bird borne as a charge in heraldry.

Inspected By : T.S.

Inscriptions : On metal banner below coat of arms (applied letters):

HOTEL (both sides)

Signatures : None

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN1152)

Standing Building Recording (3 September 2007 - 2 October 2007)

NT 1298 7837 A Level 1-2 standing building survey was carried out during September and October 2007 on building remains associated with the 19th-century Glenforth Distillery (NT17NW 82) and maltings building, now the Orocco Pier Hotel, close to the harbour at South Queensferry. The distillery was constructed in 1828 and destroyed by fire in 1939. Study of the architectural remains and the historical record showed that the building was a three-storey structure built with a N-facing sea wall.

Archive deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: Renaissance (Ecosse) Ltd.

Archaeological Evaluation (September 2007 - October 2007)

NT 1298 7837 A trial trenching evaluation took place in a proposed extension to the hotel. Four trenches were excavated, covering a total of 46m². These showed that substantial foundations of the distillery survived, comprising wall footings and plinths for floor support columns. Part of a tiled floor was recorded in one

trench. The foundations of the hotel had been cut into laminated windblown sands containing occasional thin soil horizons.

Archive deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: Renaissance (Ecosse) Ltd.

Watching Brief (February 2009 - April 2010)

NT 1298 7837 A watching brief was carried out in February 2009 during alterations to the lower ground floor of the Orocco Pier hotel. This established that the foundations of the hotel had been cut into laminated windblown sands containing occasional thin soil horizons. No features or finds of archaeological significance were identified.

A second watching brief was undertaken in April 2010 during the removal of a section of stonework to create

a doorway. Two phases of construction were recorded. The first phase had been previously identified in 2007

(DES 2007, 81) and indicated that the W-facing, external elevation of the hotel was the remnant of an internal

wall belonging to the distillery that once occupied the area to the W. The remains of this first phase of masonry

were abutted by a second phase of rebuild/repair which now forms an internal wall face within the hotel. The

fluctuating thicknesses of the masonry deposits, the weakly bonded rubble core and the inclusion of glass and

tile debris suggested that this second phase of construction was relatively ad hoc. The wall face of Phase 2, which now forms an internal wall of the hotel conference suite, was finished with lime-wash render.

Archive: City of Edinburgh Council SMR and RCAHMS

Funder: KB Architecture and Design Ltd and Kerr Blyth Associates Ltd

Phil Moore and Magnus Kirby – CFA Archaeology Ltd


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