Conservation project complete at historic Edinburgh building

AUSTIN-Smith:Lord has completed a conservation project for The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The architects were tasked with refurbishing the four upper storeys of their historic category B listed building at 21 Hill Place in the Capital. Designed by architect Thomas P Marwick in the late 19th century, the building’s basement and ground floor were initially occupied by the National Bank of Scotland. The upper floors housed Skerry’s College, which trained people for work in the civil service, post office and custom and excise service.

The ground and basement of the building are now occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland and the conservation accredited architects at Austin-Smith: Lord, have refurbished the upper top floors for use as administration offices by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Catherine Cosgrove, associate in the Austin-Smith:Lord Glasgow studio explained, “It is an interesting building for a number of reasons not least the fact that it was home to Skerry’s College. Founded by George Edward Skerry in 1878, Skerry’s College was established to help candidates for the civil service, post office or custom and excise prepare for the entrance exam and was the first of its type in the country.

“Overall, 21 Hill Place was in good condition, with many original features such as ornate fireplace  surrounds and panelled doors surviving internally. We retained these features within the room reconfigurations and carefully routed new services into the building to provide modern office interior finishes fit for its new purpose. The external red sandstone masonry was carefully inspected and selective indenting undertaken together with decorative finials refixed using stainless steel dowels and lime mortar bedding.”