Historic foundation stone from 1779 St James Square incorporated into new £ 1billion development

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It comes just days after a prominent local historian and author, David J. Black, questioned St James’s Ward chiefs, city council and heritage officials about the precise location of the 1779 stone – fearing it ‘she has not been neglected.

The foundation stone, which was originally part of one of the Georgian townhouses at No.5 St James Square, was carefully preserved by the architects of the Burke Martin Partnership when the site was demolished in the 1960s , then incorporated into a wall near the entrance to Leith Street. at the old St James Center.

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A prominent local historian and author has asked where the historic cornerstone dating from 1779 is - but it hasn't been forgotten after all.
A prominent local historian and author has asked where the historic cornerstone dating from 1779 is – but it hasn’t been forgotten after all.

In an appeal, the worried Mr Black, who fought for much of his adult life to protect Edinburgh’s built heritage, wrote to various officials about whether the block of stone had been preserved or completely forgotten.

In a pleasing turn of events for Mr. Black and heritage enthusiasts around the world, the Evening News can confirm that the historic stone has been well preserved once again and is on display to the public, welcoming shoppers to the New St. James via St James Square.

Enclosed in glass near one of the northwest entrances to the New Covered Shopping District, the 1779 stone is accompanied by a detailed plaque with text and illustrations to explain the history of the St James area from its earliest days. first days.

After spending decades facing Leith Street, the Stone now sits just yards from its original location, where it stood for over 150 years.

The preserved foundation stone is visible at the northwest entrance to the center. An accompanying plaque details the history of the site.

Martin Perry, director of development at St James Quarter, said making sure the foundation stone was kept and sited in a prominent place in the new complex was of paramount importance.

Mr Perry said: ‘We have worked closely with our heritage consultant and Edinburgh City Council to ensure that the St James Square date stone has been incorporated into our final development plans in a prominent place for the enjoyment of all.

“Therefore, as part of the planning process and in agreement with the council, we have placed the historic stone at the main entrance to the project from St James Square, allowing visitors to stop and explore the story that tells the story of stone. life.”

Sitting atop what was once Moultrie Hill, the site of St James Square was acquired in 1762 by Edinburgh writer Walter Ferguson, who in 1773 commissioned New Town architect James Craig to build a elegant square with townhouses on several floors.

The area immediately west of the new W Hotel has retained the name of St James Square.

Dilapidated and dilapidated in the years after WWII, three sides of St James’s Square were razed in the 1960s to make way for the now demolished St James Shopping Center which first opened times in 1973.

A single original building, reputed to be designed by James Craig himself, still stands on St James Square today. The building, along with an adjacent block of buildings, is undergoing renovations following the completion of the new St James Quarter.

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Restoration work on the only surviving side of the original St James’s Square continues.


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