187 Bruntsfield Place 3F1

Due to the very special nature of this flat we are arranging specific viewing days on Wed and Thurs next week. Please note that we only let this flat to groups who can satisfy us that they will respect the special care this flat deserves. Pricing is POA and we reserve full discretion re. acceptance of applications.

This flat is architecturally important and finer than most in Edinburgh – including New Town. It was designed by Hippolyte Blanc. Of French descent and Edinburgh born the French influence is very evident.

Hippolyte Blanc was born at 37 North Frederick Street in Edinburgh, third son of four children, to French parents, who ran a business on George Street importing and manufacturing ladies shoes. His father, Victor Jacques Blanc, was from Privas in the Ardeche area of France. He met his mother, Sarah or Sartia Bauress, whilst living in Dublin and moved to Edinburgh around 1840. Their firm “Madame Blanc et Fils” was at 68 George Street immediately opposite a house they moved to later in Hippolyte’s life at 69 George Street.

Blanc attended George Heriot’s School, winning the dux medal in 1859, and was then articled to the architect David Rhind. While working for Rhind, he attended classes at the School of Art and Design, where he metThomas Ross, and became interested in medieval architecture. In 1864, after completing his articles, he joined the Government Office of Works, where he became a senior draughtsman in 1869. He married Elizabeth Shield on 21 August 1873, and they moved to 12 St Vincent Street. They later moved to the Grange area in south Edinburgh: first to 2 Thirlestane Road and finally to 17 Strathearn Place.

Mayfield Free Church (1876-79)

[edit]Architectural career

For much of his career Blanc’s office was at 40 Frederick Street, extremely close to his parental home and their shop. In 1901 the office moved to 1 Rutland Square.

From the early 1870s, Blanc began to undertake private commissions. In 1875 he won his first architectural competition, for Christ Church, Morningside, and the following year won a second, for Mayfield Free Church. He left the Office of Works in 1878 to concentrate on his increasing workload, and by 1887 he had taken on a partner, James Gordon.

Blanc executed numerous church buildings, including Kirkliston Free Church (1880), St Luke’s, Broughty Ferry (1884), Coats Memorial Baptist ChurchPaisley (1885), and Morningside Free Church, Edinburgh (1892), now theChurch Hill Theatre. He carried out restoration work to Edinburgh Castle (1886), John Knox House (1886), St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh (1892), and St Duthac’s Church, Tain (1896). Secular work includes Mayville Gardens in Trinity, Edinburgh, a pleasant and quirky Victorian cul-de-sac with a low terrace of ornate houses on each side (1881).[1] Other major commissions included houses at Eriska, Argyll, and Ferguslie Park, Paisley (1888–91), since demolished. Bangour Village Hospital, West Lothian, was a competition win in 1898, and he designed the former Bernard’s Brewery buildings in Gorgie (1887). Blanc also designed several monuments. In 1912 he took his son, Frank Edward Belcombe Blanc, into partnership, and from 1913 his own architectural work drew to a close. His son continued to practice under the name Hippolyte J. Blanc & Son, until around 1950.

[edit]Other activities

Coats Memorial Baptist Church (1885)

In 1871 Blanc was elected president of the Edinburgh Architectural Association for the first of three times. He became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1879, a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1901, and was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in 1896. In addition, he was an active member of several other learned societies. He wrote and lectured extensively, largely on the subject of medieval church architecture. Blanc served as president and treasurer of the RSA from 1907–17, and was president of the Edinburgh Photographic Society from 1888 until 1892, and honorary president from 1896 until his death.[2] In 1910 he was appointed to a Royal Commission which oversaw British involvement in International Exhibitions held in Brussels (1910), Rome (1911) and Turin (1911). He was active in encouraging the careers of younger architects, and acted as assessor on several architectural competitions. Blanc died from pneumonia at his home at 17 Strathearn Place, Morningside, and was buried in Warriston Cemetery.[2]



Leave a Comment