Basic Site Details

Name: Leith Fort Housing
Town, district or village: Leith
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: Won Civic Trust Commendation in 1966.

Two 21-storey point blocks, courtyard housing and an extensive 7-storey deck-access group.

Housing development, Leith Fort, Edinburgh: results of competition
Architect & Building News
Title: Housing development, Leith Fort, Edinburgh: results of competition.
Journal title: Architect & Building News
Citation: 1958 Feb. 5, p. 180-189.
Contents: 1st award: John E. Baikie & Associates -- 2nd award: Robert Matthew & Johnson Marshall -- 3rd award: R. Wilson, A. Abbott & M. J. Blanco White.
Contents: Assessors (Sir Leslie Martin & A. Steele) and winners report.
Subject: Housing: Great Britain: Leith Fort: Edinburgh
Designer/Person subj: Wilson, R.
Designer/Person subj: Abbott, A.
Designer/Person subj: Blanco White, Margaret Justin, 1911-2001
Designer/Person subj: Matthew, Sir Robert Hogg, 1906-1975
Designer/Person subj: Johnson-Marshall, Sir Stirrat, 1912-1981
Designer/Corp. subj: John E. Baikie & Associates

Cairngorm and Grampian House tower blocks part of Phase I of construction (Both now demolished)

Information from Bill Cantley, 2016:
"I worked, from 1960 to 1963, as a young Chartered Quantity Surveyor, in James D Gibson & Simpson, a leading Edinburgh QS practice of that time.

The project was the subject of a design competition, won by three young architects, who set up in practice to realise their winning design.

Gibson and Simpson was a very strong and successful practice at that time and worked with all the leading Scottish architects of the time. Peter Dixon was a partner of the firm and had a well deserved reputation for professionalism and the pursuit of excellence. He was particularly good at helping a new architectural firm to find its feet and I think Shaw Stewart, Baikie and Perry must have owed him a great debt for his guidance in bringing this project to realization".

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 2Cairngorm House part of the Phase I construction - now demolished
Item 2 of 2Grampian House part of the Phase I construction - now demolished

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 2Housing  
Item 2 of 2Housing scheme  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 2Lindsay Road  
Item 2 of 2Lindsay Street  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 141957 Plans prepared, construction not yet begun 
Item 2 of 1421 June 1957 Proposed'Corporation of the City of Edinburgh invite architects, practising or resident in submit in open competition designs for the development of land at and adjoining Leith Fort, Edinburgh, for residential purposes...designs must be received by November 30, 1957' per Builder p1115
Item 3 of 14November 1957(?)January 1958Competition designs submitted1st: Design No. 28 (750 gns.): John E. Baikie, ARIBA, and Associates, 76 Inverleith-row, Edinburgh, 4.
2nd: Design No. 22 (500 gns.): Robert Matthew, CBE, FRIBA, and Johnson-Marshall, CBE, ARIBA, 31 Regent-terrace, Edinburgh, 7.
3rd: Design No. 21 (350 gns.): Rachel Wilson, Albert Abbott and Margaret Justin Blanco White, AA/RIBA, 10 Dundonald-street, Edinburgh, 3.

Three schemes prepared by the following are mentioned by the assessor as having special features: Ian Burke, BA, ARIBA, AMTPI, 11 South-street, Dundee; I. E. Haig, ARIBA, 16 Colville-place, Edinburgh and K. R. Marshall, ARIBA, 58 Clermiston-grove, Edinburgh; Alison and Hutchison and Partners, 73 George-street, Edinburgh.

per Builder 31 January 1958, p214
Item 4 of 14November 1957(?)January 1958Competition designs submittedwinning design - '...four building elements: (1) the raised platform at the lower end of the fort area, accommodating ...garage space, electricity substation and district heating plant; (2) ...three 14-storey slab blocks framing the view [Blocks A 1, 2 and 3]; (3) ...pinched-in area of the fort site court houses [Blocks C 1-16 - each made up of two four-apartment houses, a three-apartment house and a two-apartment house]; (4) 'spine' buildings [Blocks B 1-12 - seven-storey maisonettes and flats]...Total est. cost is 1,500,000, of which 300,000 is taken for demolition, special foundations, site works and services.' per Builder 31 January 1958 p223
Item 5 of 1419601966Build/construction 
Item 6 of 146 May 1960 Proposedtwo 21-storey tower blocks per Builder p894
Item 7 of 141 July 1960 Proposedtwo 21-storey blocks and 38 lock-up garages and podium; applications to City Architect per Builder p37
Item 8 of 148 September 1961 Contract offeredCity Architect accepting applications by 11 Sept for phase I of Leith Fort redevelopment, consisting of a 7-storey block of 157 houses and 48 courtyard houses per Builder p463
Item 9 of 1422 December 1961 Build/construction569,186 tender for erection of 205 houses awarded to J Smart and Co (Contractors) of Edinburgh p1205
Item 10 of 141967 Won award or awardsCommendation award from Civic Trust (Amenity Awards)
Item 11 of 141993 * ProposedScheme to let out flats as student accomodation for 7 year period prior to later refurbishment and sale of flats. Development to include leisure complex in basement, shops, committee room, student cafe and swimming pool.
Item 12 of 141994 * DamageDamage to the derelict Cairngorm and Grampian houses and the adjacent occupied properties. "Gangs of youths" have been accused of breaking off chips of masonry, smashing windows and general anti-social behaviour.
Item 13 of 14September 1994 Tenders submittedfor demolition of the Grampian and Cairngorm houses
Item 14 of 141998 Destruction/demolitionCairngorm and Grampian demolished

* earliest date known from documented sources.


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 14Shaw-Stewart Baikie & Perry  19571966Won competition and awarded contract. NB Competition entered by John E A Baikie & Associates which changed to Shaw-Stewart Baikie & Perry after this.
Item 2 of 14(Miss) Margaret Justin Blanco White  November 1957(?) with Rachel Wilson and Albert Abbott - 3rd, per Builder 31 January 1958 pp214, 221-223
Item 3 of 14Albert Abbott  November 1957(?) along with Rachel Wilson and Margaret Justin Blanco White - 3rd, per Builder 31 January 1958
Item 4 of 14Frank Perry  November 1957(?) with John E. Baikie and Associates, Architects. Awarded first prize in 1958
Item 5 of 14Iain Dewar Haig  November 1957(?) with J R. Marshall - special mention, per Builder 31 January 1958 p214 (NB Builder gives name incorrectly as I E Haig )
Item 6 of 14Ian David Burke  November 1957(?) special mention, per Builder 31 January 1958 p214
Item 7 of 14James Robertson Marshall  November 1957(?) with I. E. Haig - special mention, per Builder 31 January 1958 p214

N.B. Builder gives 'K R Marshal' but this is an error for J R Marshall.
Item 8 of 14John Edgar Alexander Baikie  November 1957(?) John E. Baikie and Associates, Architects - 1st (awarded contract)
Item 9 of 14Michael Shaw-Stewart  November 1957(?) with John E. A. Baikie and Associates. Awarded first prize in 1958.
Item 10 of 14Rachel Wilson  November 1957(?) with Albert Abbott and Margaret Justin Blanco White - 3rd, per Builder 31 January 1958 pp214, 221-223
Item 11 of 14Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall (RMJM)  November 1957(?) 2nd prize.
Item 12 of 14Alison & Hutchison & Partners GNovember 1957(?) special mention - per Builder 31 January 1958 p214
Item 13 of 14Robert Forbes Hutchison GNovember 1957 special mention - per Builder 31 January 1958 p214. Other partners may have been involved as well.
Item 14 of 14Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)  6 May 1960 accepting applications per Builder p894


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 6Gifford, John, McWilliam, Colin and Walker, David M1984Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland) Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltdp480
Item 2 of 6Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p594
Item 3 of 6Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdpp20, 29, 123, 160-1
Item 4 of 6Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishingp248,249
Item 5 of 6Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp380 Gazetteer 2
p238 Photograph
Item 6 of 6Whiting, Penelope1966New Single Storey Houses  p166-9

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 16Architect and Building News5 February 1958  p180-189
Item 2 of 16Architects Journal6 February 1958  p205-216
Item 3 of 16Architectural ReviewJanuary 1961  p32-4
Item 4 of 16Architectural ReviewMarch 1965  p218-23
Item 5 of 16Builder21 June 1957  'Competition News: New Housing Development at Leith Fort, Edinburgh', p1115; includes details of desired scheme, for example 'density of 140 persons per acre', and a site plan
Item 6 of 16Builder31 January 1958  'Housing Development, Leith Fort, Edinburgh,' pp214-223; includes verbal description of top 3 schemes and site plans, floor plans, sections and elevations of designs that placed first, second, and third
Item 7 of 16Builder7 February 1958  p261
Item 8 of 16Builder28 February 1958  'Leith Fort Housing, Edinburgh,' p391; includes two perspective drawings
Item 9 of 16Builder6 May 1960  p894
Item 10 of 16Builder1 July 1960  p37
Item 11 of 16Builder8 September 1961  p463
Item 12 of 16Builder22 December 1961  p1205
Item 13 of 16Builder7 April 1965  p837-48
Item 14 of 16Capital Tenant19977 Winter 1997/1998
'Crane Spotting' Front Page
Item 15 of 16Edinburgh Herald & Post7 January 1993  p4
Item 16 of 16Edinburgh Herald & Post1 September 1994  p1, p9