As we were passing this house on the way to St. Giles on Saturday, I thought I would take a photograph of it.
Thomas Stevenson built this house in 1803 at Baxter’s Place, at the bottom of Calton Hill in Edinburgh and just a stone’s throw away from Princes Street. The Stevensons were famous as a family of engineers and lighthouse builders before the author Robert Louis was born into it.
The building was used as a place of work with a separate flat for the family, so this is where R.L. was brought up and as you can see, the windows are boarded up. It has been like that for years and nothing seems to be being done to it.
I can’t help thinking that Edinburgh Council has missed a great opportunity to turn this house into a Stevenson museum, as happens in other towns.
We have museums all over the place which are attracting thousands of visitors, even when they are in out of the way places such as Haworth (Bronte) and Kirriemuir (J.M. Barrie). Even Paul McCartney’s childhood home has been turned into a museum.
Unfortunately the top parts of the Georgian building have been sold off seperately and seem to be being lived in by people now, although there is a broken window, maybe squatters have moved in. So I think they’ve missed the chance to put it all back as it originally was. If the flats ever come up for sale they will be so expensive given the price of any property in Edinburgh but especially Georgian townhouses, the council would never pay out the money required.
I can’t understand why the basement and first floor have been left vacant and unloved for years though. It’s a mystery.