The Ravelston Flats, Edinburgh

Ravelston Garden, Edinburgh EH4

One of the three blocks at Ravelston Garden

Ravelston Garden flats feature three distinct blocks of curved white buildings with garage wings, balconies and roof gardens set in their own gardens. The flats were designed by the architects Robert Hurd and Andrew Neil though the consensus of opinion appears to be that it was solely down to the latter. They were built in 1935 and are purpose built apartments with a communal entrance, sweeping staircases and lifts. The sales material focussed on the layout of the flats which allowed guest and resident entrances to be far away from the service entrance and bin chutes.

The lobby of one of the blocks showing the lift and staircases

In the book, “Above Edinburgh and South East Scotland” by Angus and Patricia Mc Donald the flats are described as, “…proving that Edinburgh was in touch with the very latest architectural ideas in the 1930’s, these flats…were among the first buildings to bring the International Style to the city”.

Illustrating the “butterfly plan” design

Historic Environment Scotland ( officially gave the flats Category A status in 1991 writing the following,

“…3 white-harled international style blocks of flats. 4 storey, butterfly plan with paired long balconies, small paned metal framed glazing (some flats re-glazed retaining original pattern) and roof gardens. Low oblong wings to each side with small paned metal framed glazing bands. 1930s detailing to interiors; curved double flighted main stairs with streamlined metal baulstrades, doors with port hole openings; also lifts. Service and servants access between wings at sides and away from main entrances”.

Roof terrace

The main windows in the blocks of apartments were originally green crittal. Replacement windows over the years now see white as the common colour though the garage windows maintain the original green.

The garage doors have been replaced with up and over doors that have been designed to match the originals.

I give the last word to Charles McKean who says, in his book The Scottish Thirties (1987);

“Neil and Hurd’s Ravelston Garden 1935, (and thereafter known as the Jenners Flats in tribute to the managing agents) is the most self-conscious mansion flat design in Scotland. As is evidence from the original perspective, the architect saw these flats as one of a piece with cloche hats, roof gardens, limousines and sun terraces. The three large blocks, each linked to the single-storey curving garage wings are designed on a butterfly plan. The servant entrances, service access and rubbish are disposed centrally in the building, invisible to residents and their guests”.

Porthole interior doors and original fire surround

Published by wishvintage

An English rose who loves and lives vintage, selling some, including Pyrex, but keeping most! #bookshopchallenge2018 to find second hand and new bookshops and not buy books on amazon. Blogging my way around bookshops and books!

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