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Edinburgh, Calton Road, Gas Dept Workshops And Garage

Furnace(S) (Period Unassigned), Garage (Modern), Workshop(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Calton Road, Gas Dept Workshops And Garage

Classification Furnace(S) (Period Unassigned), Garage (Modern), Workshop(S) (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 52214

Site Number NT27SE 190.01

NGR NT 26318 73848

NGR Description NT 262 738 abd NT 2656 7390

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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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

Archaeology Notes

Formerly NT27SE 192

NT 2635 7381 In November and December 2000 an archaeological excavation (17 x 7m) was carried out on a land parcel subject to residential redevelopment lying adjacent to Calton Road and Old Tolbooth Wynd, Canongate. This revealed a number of distinct buried garden or cultivation soils with associated pit and ditch features. A significant small find assemblage includes clay pipe, ceramics and animal bone, together with smaller quantities of metallic detritus and glass. Finds suggest that the earliest activity on site may date to the 12th century.

Sponsor: Barratt East Scotland.

J Gooder 2001

NT 262 738 A standing building record was made of the former SMT Bus Depot (NT27SE 192) in July 2005, before the building was demolished in advance of a new development.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Environ UK Ltd.

P Trickett 2005

NT 262 738 We carried out an archaeological evaluation ahead of ground remediation works within the N basement of the former New Street Bus Depot, Edinburgh. The evaluation revealed the existence of probable post-medieval/medieval deep buried soils of the Canongate backlands. These had been truncated by the construction of a 19th century gasworks on the site.

AOC Archaeology Group subsequently carried out an archaeological watching brief during ground investigation works within the southern area of the former New Street Bus Depot. The evaluation revealed substantial remains of the former 19th-century gasworks.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Mountgrange (Calton Gate) Ltd

Rob Engl, Edward Bailey and Laura Scott, 2006.


Watching Brief (1999)

NT 2636 7375 An archaeological watching brief was conducted in support of engineering site investigation works at the site of a former gasworks on Calton Road. Six test pits were monitored and made ground varied from 0.5m to in excess of 3m. All made ground appeared to be predominantly composed of 19th-century foundations, demolition material and cellarage.

Sponsor: Barratts East of Scotland.

R McCullagh and J Gooder 1999

Excavation (1 July 2006 - 15 July 2007)

NT 2620 7380 We carried out an archaeological excavation between July 2006 and July 2007 in the southern area of the former New Street Bus Depot ahead of the Caltongate development. The excavation, which used of a laser scanner to produce a 3D record, revealed the remains of the former Edinburgh Gasworks. Three distinct phases of the gasworks were recorded across an area that measured approximately 100m². The earliest remains dating from c1818 corresponded with cartographic evidence and consisted of a number of substantial stone walls and floors in addition to brick flues. The second phase corresponded with the documented expansion of the Edinburgh Gasworks in the 1850s and comprised further stone walls and stone vaults, a number of heated brick surfaces and more brick flues. Further features included a large double furnace and the remains of a large square chimney base with three truncated flues running off the base. Many of the features had been truncated or filled with concrete as part of the third phase. This phase included three large banks of furnaces, the remains of the retort benches along the E side of the site. None of the retorts survived but the basement level of the furnaces was intact. Each bank of furnaces incorporated ten ovens, all constructed of brick bonded with clay. These furnace banks were linked to a chimney at the southern end of the site by a series of large brick flues that ran across the site. Further features included a number of circular platforms and bases, cobble floor surfaces, rows of stone mountings, large concrete engine mountings and platforms, two large engine basement rooms and a series of basement rooms to the N of the site.

A large number of smaller features were recorded across the site, including various cast-iron pipes and brick walls. Some areas of the site had been truncated by features associated with the New Street Bus Depot, constructed in the 1930s after the gasworks had been levelled, most significantly by three rows of brick and concrete roof support foundations spread across the whole site and two large fuel tanks at the NW corner. Many of the large voids had been in-filled with brick rubble during this final phase and all features above ground level were demolished. The excavation also revealed a number of small discrete pockets of post-medieval buried soils of the Canongate backlands underlying remains of the Edinburgh Gasworks.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: Mountgrange (Caltongate) Ltd.

Watching Brief (12 July 2007 - 30 April 2008)

NT 2656 7390 A watching brief was carried out on a series of test pits excavated across the site, following a previous evaluation (Engl and Bailey, 2006). The work revealed significant upstanding remains relating to the former gasworks and isolated pockets of backland soils.

Subsequent ground-breaking works required a further watching brief to record all exposed features in the northern area of the former New Street bus depot ahead of development. Any walls and floors encountered as part of the ground reduction works were to be removed and a number of substantial stone walls, brick walls and floors were recorded. The majority of these related to one or more phases of the gasworks. The gasworks were on site from 1818–1906 and features from three different phases were identified. A small number of stone walls pre-dating the gasworks were also recorded.

An area of backland soil pre-dating the gasworks was also exposed and excavated. This excavation took the form of a series of seven 1m² trenches, a 10% sample. A significant number of artefacts and ecofacts were recovered. The area of soil also contained a number of stone walls dating to the post-medieval period.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Mountgrange (Caltongate) Ltd

Donald Wilson (AOC Archaeology Group), 2008


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