Edinburgh Past And Present - The Edinburgh Website

Historic Houses South Page 2

Marchmont Bruntsfield Ho-2011a
Morningside-Boroughmuirhead Ho-2010 (1)a
Morningside E Morningside House-2010 (1)a
Morningside St Bennets-2010 (3)a
Newington Arthur Lodge-2010a
Newington Hermits & Termits (1)a
Newington Prestonfield House-2010 (1)a
Newington St Leonards Pollock Halls-2010a
Southside Chapel House 2010 (1)a
Southside Pear Tree House 2010a


In 1544 the original house was destroyed during the English “rough wooing” campaign. It was rebuilt in the late 1500s by the Lauder family. In 1603 it passed in to the hands of the Fairlies who added the east wing of the house in 1605. In 1695 until 1935 it was held by the Warrender family. An interesting discovery was made by Sir George Warrender MP who found out the number of windows and rooms didn't add up. He discovered a secret room with blood stains and a skeleton and it became known as the ghost room. The house was acquired by Edinburgh Council in 1935 and in 1966 became part of James Gillespie's High School


The house once lay at the top of the Burgh Muir – part of an area given to the city by David I in the early 1100s. It stretched from Bruntsfield Place to Dalkeith Road and the southern boundary was the Jordan Burn at the end of Morningside Road. The only part that remains unbuilt today is Bruntsfield Links. The house was known as Grangebank when, in 1859, the celebrated map publisher John Bartholomew retired to the house where he died in 1861. It became an orphanage and Roman Catholic School. It now appears to have been converted into flats.


Merchant Gavin Baillie built the house around 1726 when it was a secluded mansion with large grounds. It has had many alterations including a west wing that was added in 1850 but is now a separate house. The Georgian novelist Susan Ferrier also lived in the house.


Built by architect John Henderson some time after 1856 with a chapel in the grounds dating from 1906. The sundial in front of the house is said to have come from the now demolished Grange House. It is now the residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews.


Built around 1830 by an Edinburgh builder called Robert Mason in a classical Greek style. It was the home of explorer and artist William Murdoch (1862-1939) and also Andrew Usher of the Usher Hall. It stands on the Blacket estate developed in the early 1800s to give the houses privacy. There were gates on the streets that were closed at night


Built for William Cliftom in 1734 the house takes its unusual name from its area. Hermits comes from the monks and hermits of St Leonards chapel and hospital which was in existence in 1261. Termits possibly refers to the overseers of farm land. When the railways arrived in the city in 1831 the house found itself surrounded by the station of the line that brought coals from Dalkeith still known today as the Innocent Railway. The house became known as Coalyard House and was used by the station master.It was also home to artist David Scott in the early to mid 1800s. When the railway was removed in 1968 the council took over the house where it fell into decay. Architect Ben Tindall bought the house in 1980 and it has been fully restored.


Sir James Dick, a Lord Provost, purchased the lands and house of Priestfield in 1677. The house was burned down by rioting students in 1681 during an anti catholic purge. The new house renamed Prestonfield was built in 1687. The house remained under the Dick family, although often leased, until it was sold in the 1960s. It became an hotel in which Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Elton John, Sean Connery and Sandie Shaw have all stayed or dined. It is now owned by James Thomson who also owns The Witchery


Originally called Arthursley it was built in 1869 for Thomas Nelson whose family also owned the nearby Salisbury Green house and Abden house. The family also owned Parkside Publishing works situated on the site of the current Scottish Widows building. St Leonards was used by the Red Cross during WWI and between the wars was used by St Trinneans School for girls which it is said was used as the inspiration for the St Trinian novels and films. In 1939 the rector of Edinburgh University Sir Donald Pollock purchased all 3 mansions and gave them to the University. St Leonards was then used as a hall of residence for female students. It is still owned by Edinburgh University.


Built 1750, it now stands within the confines of Edinburgh Central Mosque. It's ground floor was buried as it was situated at the end of a carriage drive and the earth built up over time obscuring its ground floor. In 1855 it became a maternity hospital and in 1982 it's interior was gutted. It is now partly derelict


Built in1747 for a merchant called William Reid it was originally called West Nicolson House but renamed after the pear trees which were planted there in the mid 1800s. During the 1780s many famous people of the time stayed there as guests including Dr Blacklock the blind poet hence the name of the pub next door. You can see some of his poems on the stair well within the old house. In 1823 it was purchased by Andrew Usher whose family financed the Usher Hall in 1911. In 1919 it was owned by whisky merchants who moved out in 1970. It lay derelict for some time and was considered by the council as a city art centre but this was rejected. It became the Pear Tree pub in 1982 and now incorporates the Blind Poet and Counting House within it's walls