Conservation work at the coffee shop located at 7 Cockburn Street in the Old Town, UNESCO World Heritage Site, was carried out in 2016.
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 shop owner, Mark Donald, throughout the project.
The conservation work
Edinburgh World Heritage granted more than £6,000 towards the restoration of the original shopfront details at The Milkman, as well as repairing the damage to the original hand-painted signage on the fascia.
The shop at 7 Cockburn Street forms part of the group of buildings, dating from 1859, and its significance lies in the part it played towards unifying the frontage of the serpentine Baronial styled terrace of the street, and for its place in the historic development of the Old Town.
Known briefly as Lord Cockburn Street, Cockburn Street was named after the doyen of conservationists, Lord Cockburn, who died in 1854. It was built by the High Street and Railway Station Access Company, under the Railway Station Acts of 1853 and 1860, to provide access to Waverley Station from the High Street. One of the aims of the design was to conceal the diagonal line of the street from Princes Street. A watercolour perspective drawing of the street by John Laing, published in THE BUILDER of 1860, shows how this was to be achieved. Stylistically, the intention was ‘to preserve as far as possible the architectural style and antique character of the locality.’
The shop frontage itself remained largely intact before work began and is one of a number of shops within the terrace in which its timber panelled shutters still exist in use, sliding down into slots beneath the windows during the day. The hand painted fascia with signwriting reveals its former function as a confectioner.