Did you know the history behind our Luxury York Place Apartments? They lie at the heart of a unique and magnificent World Heritage Site – Edinburgh, a site recognized by UNESCO as having outstanding universal value. Number 20 York Place is listed by Historic Scotland as a category A building, and who describe it as:
‘Part of the Edinburgh New Town A Group, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain’
Until 1811 the house was numbered as 10 York Place, North Side. In 1811, when it was decided to begin the practice of applying odd and even numbers to the opposite sides of streets, the house became renumbered as 20. As one of the largest three storey classical houses in the block (with 4 bays of windows), the property became, in its early decades, the Edinburgh townhouse of several wealthy landowing families with country estates in other parts of Scotland.
Some of the residents include:
- 1801 – James Christie of Durie Esq, a landowner and a coal mine owner
- 1811 – James Johnstone of Alva, whom inherited his fortune from his father, John Johnstone, a successful member of the East India Company in Bengal.
- 1815 – Sir Alexander Muir, 1st Baronet of Delvine whose estates were in Perthshire
- 1825 – George Mercer of Gorthy Esq, another Perthshire landowner. Mercer was a former trader and agent of the East India Company in Calcutta.
- Mid 1830’s – The Christie family briefly take up residence again when Charles Maitland Christie Durie is recorded as being in residence
- Late 1830’s – Sir James Montgomery, 2nd Baronet of Stanhope took up residence. Sir James was a member of parliament for Peebleshire and served as Lord Advocate in the second ministry of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.
- 1840’s – 1850’s – John Burn Murdoch Esq, an advocate in the Scottish Courts
In 1858 the house ceases to be a private residence, and for the next three decades the house operates a a private school known as Hunter’s School of English. The school was headed by John M Hunter, teacher of English, who lived nearby at 25 Albany Street
In 1889, the Governors of the George Heriot’s Trust converted the premises into offices for the trust.The original 1890 and 1905 plans of the Trust’s adaptations of the interior to offices are held today by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
George Heriot’s School was founded as a result of a bequest from George Heriot, jeweller and goldsmith to King James VI. After the accession in 1603 of James to the English throne, Heriot moved to London, where he resided as Jeweller and Goldsmith at the Court of St James. Heriot died childless and bequeathed £23,625 for the purpose of founding in his native city a hospital for the upbringing and education of poor fatherless children who were the sons of Edinburgh ‘freeman’.
In the late 1930’s the trust continued at number 20 but sub-let some of the offices to the offices to the Scottish Travel Association, which was renamed in the 1950’s as the Scottish Tourist Board
Did you know as well that a little East of York Place, at 11 Picardy Place was the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories.
Facts researched by Edinburgh World Heritage.