The History of Drummond Place

It all began in 1757 when the city’s Lord Provost George Drummond, bought, from the Heriot Trust, a 13 acre plot of land which had been part of the Bellevue Estate.

On this land stood an early country house, probably 16th century in date, but no records or illustrations seem to have survived.

It is recorded that the house was accessed from the foot of Broughton Street, as it was to be called, through gates and a tree-lined drive now occupied by London Street.  The house stood at the east end of what is now the central garden in Drummond Place.  The foundations of a later building can still be identified by careful search. Drummond Lodge, named so by George, was lived in until his death in 1766.  After that the site was purchased by General John Scott of Balcomie in Fife who demolished the old house and built a new neo-classical 3 story house. His widow lived there until her death in 1802. The land and house were bought by the Corporation of Edinburgh at that time engaged in looking for land to build the second New Town. The uncertainty of the outcome of the Napoleonic Wars held up further development until after 1815, when things gradually picked up again. By 1823 Drummond Place was completed with the General’s house standing in the garden. It became the office of the Customs and Excise, remaining as such until its demolition in 1845 necessitated on safety grounds by the construction of the Scotland Street tunnel link to Waverley Street Station.

This permitted the establishment of the present central garden. The ground was apportioned to each of the households who paid an annual subscription for the maintenance thereof. This is still largely the case and remains a jealously guarded right. It is to be remembered that the ornamental gardens in the New Town are laid out as pleasure gardens and gardens to the rear of the houses are intended as drying greens.

If you have any historic photos of the area or previous residents which we could include on the website please send them to us (you do need to own the copyright though).