Well Court, located in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Dean Village, was commissioned in the 1880s by Sir John Findlay, owner of the Scotsman newspaper. It was designed as social housing for local workers, and included a communal hall, a large courtyard and small but comfortable flats.
Sir John Findlay hoped to help the occupants of the Dean Village after the large mills which had provided employment moved out of the area in the late 19th century. Rents for the flats were affordable, and in return tenants had to commit to acceptable behaviour and to attending church in the communal hall on Sundays.
Well Court is a rare example of an arts and crafts building in Edinburgh and is recognised as one of the best examples of the work of Sydney Mitchell, an important Scottish architect of the time. The building improved the area and took account of earlier traditional buildings in the area.
A programme of repair and renovation was undertaken in 2007, with support from Edinburgh World Heritage. Only traditional materials were used – from sandstone, to roof tiles, glazing and the reproduction of the original paint colours. The weathercock and clock faces were also re-gilded.
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