Basic Site Details

Name: Usher Hall
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Parish:  
Status:  
Grid ref:
Notes: In 1897 a special committee was appointed by Edinburgh Council to seek out a suitable site for the Usher Hall. Charlotte Square and Music Hall sites were considered and sketch plans produced by Councillor Cameron. Reported in Edinburgh Dispatch and The Builder.

Information from Mrs Marilyn Baker ex inf Mr Irvine Fortescue. Standard lamps by entrances also designed by Harrison.

A renovation project was begun in the 1990s and culminated in the construction of a three storey curved glass extension by LDN architects which will provide public and hospitality areas as well as office space. The official re opening is to be 10 October 2010.

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Hall  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 2Cambridge Street  
Item 2 of 2Usher Hall, Lothian RoadYes 

Events

The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 91906  Design for Usher Hall, new National Gallery and new square submitted voluntarily by Kinross, prior to competition. The site was the Port Hopetoun canal basin
Item 2 of 91909  Scheme by Burnet for the Mound site exhibited - as 'sketch suggestion for site'
Item 3 of 919101914  
Item 4 of 9July 1910  Competition held
Item 5 of 91911  Competition designs exhibited (by Washington Browne and Blanc)
Item 6 of 919 July 1911 Foundation stone 
Item 7 of 91914 Design exhibitedCompetition design by Rhind
Item 8 of 96 March 1914 OpenedOpening concerts. Also on 7 July
Item 9 of 9May 1997 * ProposedApplication to Scottish Arts Council for 13million funding, as part of a 25million plan to refurbish the Hall, refused.

* earliest date known from documented sources.


People

Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 35Robert Macfarlane CameronArchitect 1897 Prepared sketch plans for two sites to a brief prepared by the City Architect as Councillor on Edinburgh Council
Item 2 of 35John KinrossArchitect 1906 Design for Usher Hall, new National Gallery and new square submitted voluntarily by Kinross - not executed
Item 3 of 35(Sir) John James BurnetArchitectG1909 Competition design for the Mound site - not successful (exhibited at RSA as 'sketch suggestion for site')
Item 4 of 35John Burnet & SonArchitectural practiceG1909 Competition design for the Mound site - not successful (exhibited at RSA as 'sketch suggestion for site')
Item 5 of 35Norman Aitken DickArchitectG1909 Competition design for the Mound site - not successful (exhibited at RSA as 'sketch suggestion for site')
Item 6 of 35(Sir) Robert Stodart LorimerArchitect 1910 Proposed hall
Item 7 of 35Robert AtkinsonArchitect 1910 Competition design - not successful
Item 8 of 35James Stockdale HarrisonArchitectC19101914Won in competition: as executed elevations differ considerably from competition design, adopting features from E A Richards's entry.
Item 9 of 35Edwin Alfred RickardsArchitectD1910 Competition design - not placed but influenced Stockdale Harrison's revised design
Item 10 of 35Henry Vaughan LanchesterArchitectD1910 Competition design - not placed but influenced Stockdale Harrison's revised design
Item 11 of 35James S StewartArchitectD1910 Competition design - not placed but influenced Stockdale Harrison's revised design
Item 12 of 35Lanchester, Stewart & RickardsArchitectural practiceD1910 Competition design - not placed but influenced Stockdale Harrison's revised design
Item 13 of 35Frank Lewis Worthington SimonArchitectE1910 Competition design
Item 14 of 35Henry BoddingtonArchitectE1910 Competition design
Item 15 of 35Simon & BoddingtonArchitectural practiceE1910 Competition design
Item 16 of 35Black & ForbesArchitectural practiceF1910(?) Competition design
Item 17 of 35James ForbesArchitectF1910(?) Competition design
Item 18 of 35John Alexander BlackArchitectF1910(?) Competition design
Item 19 of 35Henry Edward CliffordArchitectH1910 Second premiated competition design - unclear whether by Clifford alone, or with Lunan
Item 20 of 35Clifford & LunanArchitectural practiceH?1910(?) Second premiated competition design - unclear whether by Clifford alone, or with Lunan
Item 21 of 35Thomas Melville LunanArchitectH?1910(?) Second premiated competition design - unclear whether by Clifford alone, or with Lunan
Item 22 of 35James Bow DunnArchitectJ1910 Competition design
Item 23 of 35John DallArchitectJ1910 Competition design - as assistant to James Bow Dunn
Item 24 of 35Alfred Hugh MottramArchitect c. 1910 Plans for details - (perhaps acted as executant architect?) NMRS says Mottram & Patrick did this but Patrick only joined the younger Mottram in 1954.
Item 25 of 35Howard Henry ThomsonArchitectCc. 1910 With Stockdale Harrison - Won in competition: as executed elevations differ considerably from competition design, adopting features from E A Richards's entry.
Item 26 of 35Clyde Francis YoungArchitectKc. 1910 Probably collaborated with Frederick Julian Wass on unsuccessful competition design
Item 27 of 35Frederick Julian WassArchitectKc. 1910 Unsuccessful competition design, probably in collaboration with Clyde Francis Young
Item 28 of 35Charles Geoffrey BoutcherArchitect 1911 Competition design - not successful
Item 29 of 35James Davidson CairnsArchitect 1911 Competition design exhibited - not successful
Item 30 of 35George Washington BrowneArchitectA1911 Competition design
Item 31 of 35Hippolyte Jean BlancArchitectB1911 Competition design
Item 32 of 35David BarclayArchitectG1911 Competition design - not successful
Item 33 of 35H & D BarclayArchitectural practiceG1911 Competition design - not successful
Item 34 of 35(Sir) Thomas Duncan RhindArchitectG1913 Competition design
Item 35 of 35Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM)Architectural practiceL1997 * Proposal and application Scottish Arts Council - not successful

* earliest date known from documented sources.


References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 12Academy Architecture1915 Part 1 pp36, 37 (Atkinson design)
Item 2 of 12Clifford, William Henry Morton1986Recollections about my father Typescript, per Iain D Paterson, in DMW archivep7
Item 3 of 12Gifford, John, McWilliam, Colin and Walker, David M1984Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland) Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltdp261
Item 4 of 12Macdonald, F A & Partners1914Reinforced concrete construction: a handbook for engineers and architects by F A Macdonald & Partners   pp70-79
Item 5 of 12Royal Academy exhibitors    1911, no 1666 (Atkinson)
Item 6 of 12Royal Academy exhibitors    1911, no 1504 (Boutcher)
Item 7 of 12Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts1905   824 ( H & D Barclay design)
Item 8 of 12RSA1907   394, 398, 399
Item 9 of 12RSA1909   406, 407, 411 (Burnet & Son)
Item 10 of 12RSA1911   413 (Blanc); 420 (Washington Browne); 470 (James Davidson Cairns)
Item 11 of 12RSA1913   537 (Rhind)
Item 12 of 12RSA1931104th Annual Report  Obituary of Kinross by Washington Browne

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 9Architectural Review191436 July - December , pp18-20 (illustrations)
Item 2 of 9Builder27 March 1897  p303. Search for suitable site - taken from Edinburgh Dispatch
Item 3 of 9Builder6 August 1910XCIX  
Item 4 of 9BuilderEarly 1914CVI pp495-496 (Illustrations of designs by Stockdale Harrison & Sons and Howard H Thomson, Leicester
Item 5 of 9Building Design6 June 1997  p4
Item 6 of 9Building News29 July 1910  pp140-145 and illustrations
Item 7 of 9Building News5 August 1910  pp186-187, p202, and illustration
Item 8 of 9Building News12 August 1910  p223 and illustration
Item 9 of 9Edinburgh Evening News30 May 1997  pp1-2

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 8Edinburgh City ArchivesEdinburgh Dean of Guild 16 March 1911
Item 2 of 8Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register27780 
Item 3 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSDrawings Collection LOR/USHER HA(4 drawings)
Item 4 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSDunn and Findlay Collection EDD/252/12-39
Item 5 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSLorimer and Matthew Collection LOR E/108
Item 6 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSNMRS Manuscripts MS LOR/73/55 Letter refers to proposed hall by Lorimer
Item 7 of 8RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Drawings Collection Lanchester, Stewart & Rickards's design
Item 8 of 8RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers John Alexander Black: L v10 no 561 (microfilm reel 32); John Dall: L v14 no973; Frederick Julian Wass: L v26 no2135