Craig House, Edinburgh

Craig House

New Craig House
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Listed Building – Category A
Official name: Craig House (Old)
Designated 14 December 1970
Reference no. 28046
Listed Building – Category A
Official name: Craig House
Designated 28 August 1979
Reference no. 27736

Craig House is a historic house and estate located on Easter Craiglockhart Hill, between the Craiglockhart and Morningside areas of Edinburgh, Scotland. Old Craig House dates from the 16th century, and succeeded an earlier building. In the late 19th century it was purchased by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and the site was developed as Craig House Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, including substantial new buildings. Following refurbishment, the site was opened in 1996 as the Craighouse Campus of Edinburgh Napier University.


Craig House is recorded in the reign of King David II, and in 1528 the Abbot of Newbattle granted a charter here. The original house was burned down by the Earl of Hertford in 1544, during the Rough Wooing.[1]

Old Craig House

Old Craig House

The present Old Craig House is dated 1565, although the architecture suggests a later date.[2] It was built for the Symsounes of Craighouse. It later belonged to the Dick family, and was extended to the north-west around 1746. The historian John Hill Burton (1809–1881) lived at Craig House.[3] In the 1880s it was described as "a weird-looking mansion, alleged to be ghost-haunted" in Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh.[4]

Craig House Hospital

Stairway in the main hospital block

In the 1880s, Dr Thomas Clouston, Physician Superintendent of the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum (later the Royal Edinburgh Hospital), oversaw the purchase of Craig House by the managers of the Asylum in 1878.[5] The site was intended for paying patients, and development was funded through the sale of land at the existing Asylum in Morningside.[6] The new buildings at Craig House were planned by Clouston, and designed under the control of architect Sydney Mitchell in 1887 (whose father Dr Arthur Mitchell was on the board of directors at the asylum). The actual job architect responsible for the design was Charles Henry Greig rather than Mitchell himself, despite Mitchell being widely credited for the design.[7] Work began in 1889 on the large main building, a hospital block, and three detached villas, all of which were complete by 1894. The main building, New Craig House, was intentionally grand, resembling a country house or hotel rather than an institution, and is reminiscent of the Viceregal lodge in Shimla. It is designed in a picturesque "free Renaissance" style, with elements taken from French Renaissance architecture. The interiors include a great hall and a billiard room.[6]

From 1906 to 1914 work was executed by Mitchell's assistant Ernest Auldjo Jamieson (acting as sole partner from 1909).[8]

The hospital was renamed the Thomas Clouston Clinic in 1972, but closed in the early 1990s due to changes in the way mental illness was treated, with an increasing emphasis on care in the community.[9]

Craighouse Campus

In 1994, Edinburgh Napier University purchased the 60 acres (24 ha) estate, and commenced a £14 million refurbishment, funded by a Historic Building Grant. The new campus opened in September 1996.[10] The campus is home to the social science and communication arts courses, as well as the Ian Tomlin School of Music and the University Principal's Office.

In March 2011, Edinburgh Napier University sold the campus for residential development, and is expected to have moved out completely by 2013.[11]

Coordinates: 55°55′23″N 3°13′41″W / 55.92306°N 3.22806°W / 55.92306; -3.22806

Current Status

The Craighouse estate is currently owned by Mountgrange Real Estate Opportunity Fund (MoREOF) through Craighouse Limited (Isle of Man) with the MoREOF fund being administered by Mountgrange Investment Management LLP.[12][13] Napier University hold a lease on the estate and will decant some time around 2013.

A consortium has been formed by Edinburgh Napier University, Mountgrange and Sundial Properties for the purpose of undertaking development on the estate.[14] The planned development comprises renovation of the existing buildings and extensive residential new build throughout the grounds of the estate, totaling approximately 116 new units.[15][16]

The proposals as advanced by The Craighouse Partnership have met with considerable opposition due to the plans to build on the open green space within the estate. The Friends of Craighouse,[17] a campaign group opposing any new build at Craighouse, have amassed some 5,000 signatures on a petition against new build development.[18]

Morningside Community Council, in their meeting of 21 March 2012, have adopted the following resolution as regards Craighouse,"If the planning application for the Craighouse site proposes new development on areas which are designated in the Edinburgh City Local Plan as Open Space and/or Areas of Great Landscape Value, we will submit an objection".[19] Merchiston Community Council have also raised concerns.[20] The Cockburn Association has warned they will likely oppose any planning application based on the current proposals.[21]

Jim Eadie MSP has stated he would "...vigorously oppose any planning application based on these proposals".[22] A number of other politicians including Alison Johnstone MSP, Councillor Mark McInnes, Councillor Andrew Burns, Councillor Paul Godzik, Councillor Gavin Corbett, Councillor Sandy Howat, Councillor David Key and Councillor Melanie Main have also expressed opinions as regards Craighouse.[23][24][25]


  1. "The Napier Estate past and present" (PDF). Edinburgh Napier University. 2007. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  2. "Old Craig House". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  3. "Craig House (Old), Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  4. Grant, James (1880). Old and New Edinburgh. 5. Cassel. pp. 53–54. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  5. "History of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital". Lothian Health Service Archive. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  6. 1 2 "Craig House, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  9. "Sir Thomas Clouston". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  10. "The Napier Estate past and present" (PDF). Edinburgh Napier University. 2007. p. 13. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  11. "Napier Uni campus sold for flats". The Scotsman. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  12. "Craighouse Campus". Andy Wightman, Land Matters. 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  13. "Seeker Craighouse". Mountgrange. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  14. "Craighouse Partnership Website, About us". The Craighouse Partnership. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  15. "Craighouse Partnership Website, Proposal". The Craighouse Partnership. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  16. "Edinburgh Evening News, Row brews over Craighouse campus plans". 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  17. "Friends of Craighouse Website". Friends of Craighouse.
  18. "Petition reaches the 5000 mark". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  19. "Morningside Community Council Website, Craighouse". Morningside Community Council. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  20. "Friends of Craighouse Website, Another community council rallies behind Craighouse". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  21. "Friends of Craighouse Website, Cockburn Association warns of their opposition if plans go ahead". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  22. "Friends of Craighouse Website, MSP Jim Eadie calls for Craighouse proposals to be abandoned". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  23. "Friends of Craighouse Website, Statements from council candidates about Craighouse". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  24. "Friends of Craighouse Website, Statements from politicians". Friends of Craighouse. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  25. "Friends of Craighouse Website, Gavin Corbett asks important questions on Craighouse". Friends of Craighouse. 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-26.


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