© All rights reserved. Edinburgh Architectural Association 1907 Exhibition Catalogue  

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Chesser
Designation: Architect
Born: 18 September 1819
Died: 2 February 1892
Bio Notes: John Chesser was born on 18 September 1819 at Dalmeny, the son of William Chesser clerk of works there and his wife Margaret Bell. He learned the business of a clerk of works in his father's office, moving to the estate of Revesby in Lincolnshire in a similar master-of-works capacity superintending the erection of buildings there to gain experience. On the death of his father he succeeded him as superintendent of works on the Dalmeny estate but by 1852 he had a post of some kind in David Cousin's City Superintendent of Works office at 12 Royal Exchange. It was probably through connections there that he secured the post of Superintendent of Works to Heriot's Hospital on the death of Alexander Black in 1858, his school buildings following Black's precedent in adopting Heriot's Hospital-based detail. Chesser took a site in John Dick Peddie's Chalmers Street development: opposite Heriot's and there may have been some sort of association between them in the early years while Chesser found his feet as an architect. Their terrace elevations of the 1860s have marked similarities. In his later work a free Renaissance idiom was adopted with superimposed bay windows of differing plan.

Chesser died at Dorlin, Corstorphine on 2 February 1892, and was buried in Cramond Kirkyard. The name of his wife was given as Ann Stennet, who died on 24 May 1900.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 712, Royal Exchange, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 18521869David Cousin's office
Item 2 of 73, Royal Exchange, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18701880 
Item 3 of 7Revesby Villa/1, Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1871  
Item 4 of 721, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18811888 
Item 5 of 720, York Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18891890 
Item 6 of 71, Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1891 Last entry
Item 7 of 7Dorlin, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1892 * Place of death

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1David Cousinc. 18521858  

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Walter Wood Robertson1 May 1858May 1863Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Walter Wood Robertsonc. August 18631865Assistant 
Item 3 of 3George Alexander Troup18821884Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 5618471-14 Hope StreetSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 2 of 561852Caledonian United Services Club  EdinburghScotlandRear extension. Chesser was practising from David Cousin's office, 12 Royal Exchange, at this point. Design may have been in Cousin's name.
Item 3 of 56Before 1858Dalmeny Estate workDalmeny West LothianScotland 
Item 4 of 561860s2-24 East Claremont Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 5 of 561860Bellevue Place  EdinburghScotlandNos 1-5
Item 6 of 561860Buckingham Terrace  EdinburghScotlandDesign of facades
Item 7 of 561860Royal Terrace Gardens, railings  EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 56c. 18605 Oswald Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 561860 or 18641-15 Howard PlaceSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 10 of 561861St Cuthbert's ManseColinton EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 11 of 561862Houses at BellevueBellevue EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 561864Hope Park developmentSt Andrews FifeScotlandContinued work after John Henderson's death - slightly revised feuing plans (superseded those by Henderson)
Item 13 of 5618651 Rosebery Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 5618651-6 Clifton Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 5618658-15 Clifton Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 561865Belgrave Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 561865Rosebery Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 561865Stravithie HouseDunino FifeScotlandRebuilt after becoming dilapidated over original cellarage
Item 19 of 56c. 1868Lennox Street  EdinburghScotlandDesign of facades
Item 20 of 5618691-10 Magdala Crescent and 45 Coates Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 56186911-24 Magdala Crescent, 1A Douglas Crescent and 31 Eglinton Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 561869Magdala Mews  EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 56After 1870George Heriot's Hospital  EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 5618711-43 Coates Gardens (even numbers)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 561871Feuing, Dean Estate, Edinburgh  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 56187236-48 Palmerston Place  EdinburghScotlandConstruction, 1877-1880
Item 27 of 561872Feuing, Dean EstateWester Coates EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 5618731-20 Learmonth Terrace  EdinburghScotlandIn consultation with MacGibbon & Ross - Chesser specified design of fašade
Item 29 of 56187321-24 Learmonth Terrace  EdinburghScotlandOriginal fašade designs
Item 30 of 561873Eglinton Crescent  EdinburghScotlandDesigned from Heriot Trust, but mainly built by Roberts & Son and James Steel
Item 31 of 561873Glencairn Crescent  EdinburghScotlandDesigned for Heriot Trust, but built mainly by Roberts & Son and James Steel
Item 32 of 561873Regent Road SchoolAbbeyhill EdinburghScotlandOriginal building
Item 33 of 561873Tenements, Leith Walk  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 5618741-21 Belgrave CrescentDean EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 56187422-25 Belgrave CrescentDean EdinburghScotlandArchitect for Sir James Steel
Item 36 of 561874George Heriot's School, St Bernard's Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 561874Heriot's Trust School, Dean StreetStockbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 561874Norton Place School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 56c. 1874St Giles Cathedral, Monument to Rev Robert Nisbet  EdinburghScotland 
Item 40 of 5618752-40 Coates Gardens (even numbers)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 561875Douglas Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 42 of 561875Heriot's Trust School, Davie Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 561875Southfield HouseLiberton EdinburghScotland 
Item 44 of 56187754-62 Palmerston Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 45 of 56c. 1878South Park  EdinburghScotlandProbably Chesser (HS)
Item 46 of 56188315A-37 Hillside Crescent  EdinburghScotlandEastern section, modifying Playfair's design as flats
Item 47 of 561883Brunton Place and Brunton Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 48 of 561883R & R Clark's Printing Office  EdinburghScotland 
Item 49 of 561885Houses, Great Western Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 50 of 561888George Heriot's Hospital, Heriot Bridge, Primary School (later Science Wing)  EdinburghScotlandRebuilt by Chesser as Science block of Heriot's Hospital, reusing materials of the entrance tower of the Heriot Trust school previously on the site
Item 51 of 561888Watt Institution and School of Arts  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction of earlier buildings with new entrance pavilion
Item 52 of 561890Bellevue Place  EdinburghScotlandNos 7-11
Item 53 of 56Before 1892Bellevue Place  EdinburghScotlandDesign of Nos 13-19 and 21-35 - executed in 1893 after his death
Item 54 of 56Late 1800s4,5 Rosebery Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 55 of 56Late 1800s6, 7, 8 Rosebery Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 56 of 56Late 1800s9 Rosebery Crescent  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Scotlands People Website Wills & Testaments  Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories Sc70/1/309

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman3 February 1892   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1H M Register HouseDeath Register Corstorphine


© All rights reserved. Edinburgh Architectural Association 1907 Exhibition Catalogue  

© All rights reserved. Edinburgh Architectural Association 1907 Exhibition Catalogue