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Edinburgh, 28 Queen Street

Terraced House (18th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 28 Queen Street

Classification Terraced House (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Stewart House; Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Scotland; The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Canmore ID 52437

Site Number NT27SE 390

NGR NT 25194 74147

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


Publication Account (1951)


In 1789 two Edinburgh bankers feued adjoining stances from the Town, Robert Allan taking the one on the E. and David Steuart that on the W. The houses that they built, Numbers 28 and 29 Queen Street, although generally similar and provided with identical fronts, show minor differences. For example Number 29 is rather deeper than its neighbour and has a central bay projecting from the back, the corresponding bay of Number 28 being attached to the S.E. corner. As Number 28 is on the whole the better building it has been preferred for description here.

In height Number 28 has three main storeys with a basement and attic, the last reconstructed at a later date as a separate flat. On the basement floor the front is of rock-faced ashlar. The street floor is of channel-jointed ashlar and the superstructure of droved ashlar. The three first-floor windows have simply-moulded architraves and they seem to have been enlarged by the lowering of the sills to the level of the channel-jointed masonry; this has interrupted a belt by which that zone is surmounted. Between the windows of the first and second floors runs a band enriched with fluting, and the second-floor windows also have simple architraves. Above them runs a frieze, carved with swags, and a moulded and dentilated cornice with a blocking course, at either end of which is an urn of cast iron. The entrance, situated at the E. end of the front, has a moulded architrave and a fluted frieze, the latter flanked by the shaped brackets that support the moulded cornice. The vestibule within occupies the N.E. corner of the house. Its walls are pilastered, and the pilasters are enriched with plaques bearing cupids and classical heads. The ceiling is enriched. On the E. is a niche either for a stove or for a bust. On the W. and N. are doorways having doorheads enriched with foliage and classical subjects. The W. doorway admits to the original dining-room at the N.W. corner of the house, while the one to the N. opens into the staircase. The staircase, which contains on the E. a steep geometrical stair with stone steps, a cast iron balustrade and a mahogany rail, also has five doorways, all the doorheads being enriched with sprays of foliage and classical heads. One of them leads S. into an extension containing the present stair to the basement, which is not a continuation of the main stair although in the original arrangement it may have been so. The adjoining door on the E. opens into a fine oval room at the S.E. corner of the house. This has on the S. a large central window, flanked by two shorter windows, an arrangement balanced on the N. by the entrance and the doors of two cupboards. All three doorheads are enriched. On the E. is a pine mantelpiece with stucco enrichment and a marble slip. The walls have a dado rail and an enriched cornice. The third doorway on the staircase admits to the study at the S.W. corner. This room is awkwardly shaped on account of an encroachment on the E., behind which a passage runs to the basement stair; the N. end is, moreover, rounded. The cornice has a delicate enrichment. On the S. is a single large window, which may have been enlarged. On the W. is a mantelpiece with stucco enrichment. A doorway at the N.W. corner opens on a press which has latterly been opened out to provide communication between the study and the dining-room. The dining-room, it will be remembered, can be entered directly from the vestibule, but the doorway from the vestibule may be a dummy door opened out to replace an original entrance from the staircase placed where there is now a cupboard. The dining-room is lit from the N. by two windows. The S. end is rounded. On the E. is the entrance from the vestibule and on the S.W. that from the study, balanced on the S.E. by the door of a cupboard which, it is suggested, may originally have been the entrance. All three doorways have door heads enriched with festoons and surmounted by panels bearing classical subjects. On the W. is a tall mantelpiece of pine enriched in stucco and enclosing a marble slip. The walls have a dado rail surmounted by plaster panelling. The ceiling is enriched with a festooned pattern, very delicate and refined in its detail. The basement floor is of no interest.

The first-floor landing, as in some of the neighbouring houses, is wider at one end than at the other. The door at the wider end opens into the drawing-room, which originally ran the full width of the house but is now divided in two to the detriment of the fine enriched ceiling. The E. division, lit by one window to the N. and with a modern mantelpiece to the E., opens into the major division on the W. This part has two windows. On the W. is a plain marble mantelpiece. On the S. are double doors with enriched door heads which originally opened into the back drawing-room. The walls have a dado rail and an enriched cornice. The back drawing-room at the S.W. corner is lit from the S. by a Venetian window and has a rounded N. end in which are the entrance, the double doors opening into the front drawing-room, and the door of a press. The double doors have an enriched doorhead with a coved cornice. On the W. is a pine mantelpiece with stucco enrichment and a marble slip. The walls have a dado rail and an enriched cornice. On the E. a doorway opens to the room at the S.E. corner, which has a circled S. end containing a central window flanked by two presses. On the E. is a mantelpiece of pine with stucco enrichment and a marble slip. The walls have a dado rail and an enriched cornice.

On the second floor, as on the first, there was a single large room at the front of the house and this, as below, has been divided. The part on the W., which is lit by two windows facing N., has on the W. a monumental mantelpiece of black marble. The walls have a heavily enriched cornice, which may not be original. It continues through the partition into the E. division where there is a single window to the N., and on the E. a plain mantelpiece of black marble. At the S.E. corner is a room with a rounded S. end in which there is a window. On the E. is a mantelpiece of white marble. The walls have an enriched cornice, which may not be original. There has obviously been some alteration at this level. The room at the S.W. corner has been modernised and the staircase which led to the attic floor has been rebuilt as a continuation of the main stair, but with wooden instead of stone steps. The staircase itself is heavily enriched on the coving of the circular cupola. The attic has also been reconstructed.

RCAHMS 1951, visited c.1941


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