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Edinburgh, Newhaven, Main Street, Victoria Primary School

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9805 / 55°58'49"N

Longitude: -3.1927 / 3°11'33"W

OS Eastings: 325672

OS Northings: 677036

OS Grid: NT256770

Mapcode National: GBR 8N3.SM

Mapcode Global: WH6SD.XYT4

Entry Name: Edinburgh, Newhaven, Main Street, Victoria Primary School

Listing Date: 17 October 1996

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 390296

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB43704

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Unitary Authority Ward: Leith

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Description

John Lessels, 1861; enlarged 1875, 1884; George Craig, 1896. 3-storey, 9-bay Gothic-style school facing Main Street, accessed from E. Rectangular-plan with a-symmetrical projections and additions to rear. Low 2-storey extension to NE; open porch to lower right. Squared and snecked rubble sandstone; long and short quoins, polished dressings; projecting cornice. Pointed-arched openings; chamfered and architraved windows; oculi to S facade.

E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 5-bay. Chamfered arises to pointed-arched doorway in bay to outer left; 2-leaf panelled door; 3-light fanlight divided vertically above. Single windows to ground in 3 bays to right; 2-light fanlights separated by stone transoms above. Single windows in all bays at 1st and 2nd floors. 3-storey, 2-bay flat-roofed addition adjoining to N with pitched 2-storey extension beyond. Advanced piend-roofed playshed with classroom above.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: a-symmetrical disposition of bays and windows; irregularly disposed fenestration.

S (MAIN STREET) ELEVATION: bays grouped 3-3-3; central block asymmetrical. W BLOCK: gabled and buttressed; symmetrical; single windows in all bays at ground; pointed-arched windows aligned above. Double-height architraved surround to each bay; hoodmoulds to 1st floor windows. Oculus set in apex above. Polished sandstone panels set between floors; architraved surrounds; inscribed "1843 - 1885 Victoria School Leith School Board". CENTRAL BLOCK: 5-storey; a-symmetrical disposition of openings. Variety of square-headed and pointed-arched windows to all floors. Corbelling to upper floors in bay to outer right; chamfered angle to recess; windows set within. E BLOCK: 3-storey, 3-bay; symmetrical. Single windows to ground in all bays. Pointed-arched windows above at 1st and 2nd floors. Double-height architraved surround to ground and 1st floors; hoodmoulds to 1st floor. Polished sandstone panels set between floors; architraved detailing to each. Single hoodmoulded pointed-arched windows in all bays at 2nd floor. Vesica set in gablehead; sculpted finial above. War memorial beneath right gablet inscribed "NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSETT".

Variety of 2- and 4-pane timber sash and case windows to main block. 12-pane timber sash and case windows to 2-storey playshed extension to NE. Grey slate roof with decorative terracotta ridging and raised skews. Square-section ventilator to entrance block with timber louvres and broached cap. Octagonal lead-roofed broached spire to rear with tripartite pointed-arched louvered panelling to each elevation; cast-iron weather vane above. Original rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: relatively unchanged, retains timber boarded dado panelling, iron radiators, stone stairs and cast-iron banisters. Timber panelled classroom doors, glazed fanlights above with original timber transoms and mullions. Internal windows are chamfered with the original timber sash and case glazing. Double-height hall through centre of building beneath pitched glazed roof. Projecting balcony around hall at 1st floor level, supported by steel brackets.

Statement of Interest

Previous low classical extension to the NE (see aerial view, McGowran p105) demolished. The decision to build Victoria School was taken by a committee, headed by Dr James Buchanan of North Leith Church, which met in 1844. Thirty years later, when the school was taken over by Leith School Board, there was already provision for 130 children. Today, with its exterior intact, its original timber sash and case windows, a relatively unchanged interior and double-height hall, the school should be recognised as an impressive and virtually complete example of its type. The war memorial set beneath the gablet facing Main Street is a reproduction of the late 16th century plaque to be found inset within the facade of Auchinleck Court. Inscribed with the words "NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSETT, 1588", it is decorated with a rigged ship flying the Saltire flag. Above is a thistle and below, 17th century moulding depicting globes, a sextant, anchor and a cross-staff. The motto of Trinity House, "PER (VIA) VERTVTI SYDERA TERRA MARE (Courage makes its way through heaven, earth and sea) was later cut in the base. The plaque was originally set within the walls of Newhaven Post Office and prior to that, in a cottage which previously stood on the site.

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