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Edinburgh, 142 Canongate, Huntly House Museum

Museum (20th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 142 Canongate, Huntly House Museum

Classification Museum (20th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Canmore ID 52372

Site Number NT27SE 342

NGR NT 26449 73777

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 342 26451 73774

A small 17th-century tenement, restored in 1962-5 by Ian G Lindsay and Partners and incorporated into Huntly House Museum (NT27SE 61).

J Gifford, C McWilliam and D Walker 1984.

Architecture Notes

142 Canongate was at one time a shop next to Huntly House Museum. It is now part of Huntly House Museum - this change occurred at a point after 1964.


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 (13 December 2000)

The museum sign is composed of three-dimensional figures of a cryer and a drummer. The cryer waves his hat in the air with his right hand, and holds a notice in his left. He is dressed in a painted blue jacket and white hose. The drummer is behind, holding a drum stick in each hand, and is wearing a painted red suit and black boots and hat.

The five relief panels are decorated with flowers (3), thistles and animals (2 and 4), stalks of wheat growing out of crossed bones (5), and a large unpainted relief carving of a sun (1).

The last panel, decorated with stalks of wheat growing out of crossed bones, symbolises resurrection after death, illustrating hope of another life.

In 1517 there were three small houses on this site which were united in 1570. In 1647 the house was bought by the Incorporation of Hammermen who employed Robert Mylne in 1671 as a consultant on the enlargement of the front block. In 1927-32 Frank C. Mears incorporated a pair of tenements of 1648 (to the south) with Huntly House, in his restoration and conversion to a museum. In 1932 the panel carved with the initials of the Lord Provost Sir Thomas B Whitson was placed on the façade, along with replicas of four earlier panels.

A popular name for the building was 'The Speaking House', referring to the four original panels of aphorisms.

T.B.W. = Sir Thomas B. Whitson, Lord Provost

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : On panels (raised gold letters), from east to west:

(1) ANTI- / QVA / TAMEN / JVVEN- / ESCO / T.B.W / 1932

(2) HODIE . MIHI . CRAS . TIBI / CVR . IGITVR . CVRAS . / 1570 [= Today for me, tomorrow for you, why worry]

(3) VT. TV. LINGVAE. TVAE / SIC . EGO . MEAR . AVRIV / DOMINVS . SVM [= As you are the lord of your tongue, so am I the lord of my ears]

(4) CONSTANTI . PECTORI / RES . MORTALIVM / VMBRA [= To the constant heart the affairs of mortals are but a shade]


Below figures on Huntly House Museum sign (painted white letters): The Museum / of Edinburgh

Signatures : None visible

Design period : c. 1517 / 1570 / 1647-1648 / 1671 / 1927-32

Year of unveiling : c.1932

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0546)


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