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Latitude: 55.9777 / 55°58'39"N
Longitude: -3.1767 / 3°10'36"W
OS Eastings: 326667
OS Northings: 676706
OS Grid: NT266767
Mapcode National: GBR 8S4.0N
Mapcode Global: WH6SM.50KQ
Entry Name: 104-108 Commercial Street, Macdonald House (Former Leith Nautical College) with Front Wall and Railings; Eh6 6nn
Listing Date: 30 March 1994
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 363716
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB26852
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Leith
Traditional County: Midlothian
William C Laidlaw, 1903; extended 1926, 1931 and 1960s; converted to offices 1981, Gordon and Latimer. Symmetrical 2-storey and attic 3-bay English Baroque villa with single bay addition to E. Cream ashlar sandstone; squared snecked and bull-faced to rear.
S (COMMERCIAL STREET) ELEVATION: original villa with base course, corniced to ground floor, moulded cill course to 1st floor and mutuled cornice with blocking course; long and short quoins. 3 steps to projecting doorpiece; broad 2-leaf panelled door with semi-circular leaded fanlight, moulded architrave, acanthus keystone and cartouches in spandrels; flanked by paired engaged Ionic columns on pedestals, supporting broken pediment with large cartouche at centre (inscribed MACDONALD HOUSE). 3 tall windows to flanking bays at ground. Venetian windows to 1st floor bays, outer ones with brackets at centre; plaques between bays. Corniced box dormers; bipartite at centre, tripartite to outer bays. Single bay extension to right detailed as above (no quoins), with full ashlar attic storey having 4 round-headed windows in set-in panel at centre; corniced tablet above parapet with legend LEITH NAUTICAL COLLEGE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT ERECTED 1926. Modern 2-storey glazed brick extension to right. Adjoins cooperage to left.
N ELEVATION: 2-storey and attic 3-bay. Centre and left bays obscured by modern breeze block addition at ground. Centre bay with stair windows and raised wallhead forming square watchtower with glazed ogee-roofed timber cupola behind central stack. Right bay with bipartite and single windows to both floors; left bay with tripartite window to 1st floor. Corniced tripartite box-dormers abutt watchtower.
Original glazing; timber windows with plate glass lower panels and multi-pane upper panels. Piend and platform roof with railings around viewing platform; grey slates. Corniced ashlar stack to W. Original cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: plaster corniced and consoled vestibule. Classrooms partitioned and stained glass, cornices and figurines on stair inserted circa 1978-9.
FRONT WALLS AND RAILINGS: dwarf saddleback-coped ashlar walls flank doorpiece with origianl decorative wrought-iron railings.
Leith Navigation School had been founded in 1855, in a room in the Mariner's Church, and had been in adapted premises in Dock Place since 1882. This was its first purpose built college and was opened on 4th February 1903 by Lord Balfour of Burleigh. The extension, for marine engineering, was opened by Lord Novar.
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