Conservation work to Stewart Christie’s at 63 Queen Street was carried out between 2016 and 2018 and included the restoration of the original shopfront design by John Lessels to include new joinery, lettering, signage and lighting.
Work was funded through the Conservation Funding Programme, which is supported by Historic Environment Scotland. Edinburgh World Heritage also provided expertise, advice and support to the owners.
63 Queen Street dates from circa 1790 and forms a significant surviving part of the original fabric of the New Town. It is now part of the Old and New Towns UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most important and best-preserved examples of urban planning in Britain.
The building is Category A-listed by Historic Environment Scotland along with 61, 61A, and 62 Queen Street. They were built in 1791 with later alterations, including shopfronts, in the mid-19th century.
The shopfront lies on a key route through the World Heritage Site and is a rare survivor. John Lessels, the Architect who designed the shopfront, is regarded as the man responsible for introducing and encouraging the use of cast iron into shop fronts in Edinburgh. The conservation of this shopfront was an opportunity for Edinburgh World Heritage to reinstate the building to its original design and contribute to the architectural integrity of the streetscape.
Queen Street itself was built to take advantage of the northern views and was part of James Craig’s plan for the first New Town. It has survived remarkably unaltered to this day.