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Wednesday 29 February 2012: Kingston House

In 1867 William Christie, a tailor making gloves and breeches at 16 George Street, Edinburgh, paid £1,800 for Craigend Park, 10 acres of woodland, the sunniest plot of land he could find in the area.

At a cost of £70,000 he built a house, lodge and coach-house, in a unique style of architecture, described as "nightmare Gothic" ('Ruskian Gothic' in Pevsner's "The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh") in sandstone from nearby Craigleith Quarry. This was laid in contrasting bands of pink and orange, cemented not with mortar but - for extra bonding and at fantastic expense - with putty. Christie employed adventurous architect Frederick T Pilkington, a 35-year-old who had already built churches in Penicuik and Bruntsfield. The house came to be known by irreverent locals as "the Castle O'Breeches". Christie lived in the house only until 1889, when it was sold to a Glasgow merchant.

During the 20th century, the building was owned by Edinburgh Council, and has been a hospital, a boys' school, and a nurses' home. From 1938 until 1988, it was occupied by The Naturopathic School and Clinic, known as the Kingston Clinic, after which it became a hotel and is now converted into luxury flats.

Now renamed as Kingston House it is Grade A listed.

(See more detail in large)

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