Edinburgh Society of Musicians
Architecture - 3 Belford Road (formerly Drumsheugh Toll)
Our premises were originally known as Lynedoch House, built on the site of the former Drumsheugh Toll and were designed by Sir George Washington Browne in 1891, in a free Tudor style. "A well detailed picturesque studio house designed for Martin Hardie RSA (1858 -1916) making clever use of the steeply sloping site. The design is an excellent response to the site with a striking juxtaposition of elements to the S elevation and large windows high up on the elevation facing N to provide the ideal lighting for an artists studio". ((c) Crown Copyright, Historic Scotland).
According to the entry in THE BUILDINGS OF EDINBURGH (Gifford et al, Penguin 1984), "The steep site is brilliantly exploited. It is stolid and cosy towards Belford Road, with broad eaves, a squat crenellated tower, a four-light half-timbered bay-window to the West, and a canopy over the door in the angle; highly picturesque towards Bell's Brae, with more half-timbering, a big studio-windowed gable, a red sandstone octagonal turret and a dizzily elevated balcony (the terrace was partly reconstructed and extended in 1975). The detail has much charm, e.g. the cement base-course stamped diaper-fashion with a Gothic capital H and thistles, the beautifully leaded glass and a modicum of iron-work." (page 396).
Before the Dean Bridge was built by Thomas Telford and opened in 1832, the road to Queensferry ran along what is now called Belford Road, crossing the Water of Leith at Belford Bridge. Tolls for the use of the road were collected at a toll-house which stood on this site. It was partly incorporated into the design and construction of the present building, which dates from 1891. The architect was Sir George Washington Browne (1853 -1939), who also designed the Central Public Library on George IV Bridge, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and The Caledonian Hotel. He may have been acting for two clients. The person concerned with the three floors below the level of Belford Road was James "Cabbie" Stewart, who ran a cab-hiring business from the house on Dean Bridge. His horses were stabled in two of the lower floors, entered from Bell's Brae.
text by Beverly Gray (President), Dorothy Forrester & Graham Bodenham