Edinburgh World Heritage granted a total of £1.1 million towards conservation work on stonework, roof, windows, clock tower and communal areas to Well Court on the Water of Leith.
Well Court residents and owners unite
Well Court is rare example of an arts and crafts building in Edinburgh. The category A listed courtyard building is located in Dean Village, just within the World Heritage Site boundary on the north side of the Water of Leith. In an extensive conservation scheme, carried out by the 55 owners in collaboration with Edinburgh World Heritage, the architectural integrity of the building was restored, and the appearance and stability of the structure was considerably improved.
Edinburgh World Heritage granted a total of £1.1 million towards conservation work on stonework, roof, windows, clock tower and communal areas. Work in public areas such as the courtyard was funded by the owners and a non-repayable grant from Edinburgh World Heritage, while the restoration of the main building was paid for partly by the owners and partly through a repayable grant from Edinburgh World Heritage, which is paid back upon transfer or sales of the properties.
Work started in February 2007 following the premise of conservation repair based purely on need. Only traditional materials were used, going through great efforts to match properties and colour. The characteristic red sandstone was sourced from Corsehill quarry in Dumfries and the roof tiles were handmade Rosemary clay tiles to match the originals.
The window glazing was restored to its original pattern. The original colour scheme was successfully reproduced after being identified through surviving paintwork on the windows in the stair.
The weathercock and clock faces atop the landmark clock tower were re-gilded thanks to donations from the Inches Carr Trust and Ritchies Clockmakers.
Well Court was originally commissioned in the 1880s by Sir John Findlay, who was the proprietor of the Scotsman newspaper.
The architect Sydney Mitchell designed Well Court as model housing for local workers and it was finished in 1886. There were many comforts in living at Well Court: a communal hall, a large courtyard, small but comfortable flats, most with kitchens and sculleries. Nevertheless, residency came with certain obligations. There was a night time curfew and attendance at Sunday religious meetings held in the Communal Hall was compulsory.
The finished product
Well Court was successfully restored, and remains one of the most popular places for visitors of the city to walk around and soak in its picturesque surroundings.