Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings (For Waverley
Listed At: Category A
Historic Environment Scotland Number: LB30270
Canmore ID: 52247
Predominantly 1892-1900 (W R
Galbraith, consulting engineer for parliamentary plans to 1891; James
Bell, chief engineer to North British Railway responsible for platforms,
signalling and permanent way; J S Pirie, site engineer, Cunningham,
Blyth and Westland – from 1893 Blyth and Westland – principal structural
engineers including roof; P and W McLellan, general contractors; Herbert
Waller Raithby, Blyth and Westland, chief architectural architect
responsible for booking hall and offices); later alterations of various
Extensive city-centre late 19th century railway station
primarily at lower street level sunk next to Princes Street Gardens
centred under and between Waverley Bridge and North Bridge (see separate
listing), comprising extensive roof covering, station buildings and
station infrastructure, ashlar arcaded screen walling, with suburban
platforms with decorative awnings and various access points to north,
west and south. The former parcels office (1898-1900) and Waverley
Bridge (circa 1894-6) which forms part of station infrastructure, were
designed and built by the same engineers. Waverley Steps (1868-74 with
extensive early 21st century alterations), located to the north are not
considered special in listing terms.
The 3-storey, rectangular-plan, Free Renaissance BOOKING HALL AND
OFFICES building was designed by Herbert Waller Raithby (of Blyth and
Westland), 1896-1900. It is constructed of sandstone ashlar and has
railway offices at upper floors and later alterations for retail units
at ground floor. It has Giant Order pilasters, keystoned cartouches,
basket-arched doorways, and is flat-roofed with a central well lighting
the booking hall. Base course, full entablature with dentil cornice
above 1st floor, ashlar mullions. Clock with 1897 cipher and emblems of
Glasgow and Edinburgh in keystones to east elevation. South elevation
has bronze panelled war memorial to North British Railway dead of First
World War. Variety of openings, some altered. Predominantly timber
glazing with 15-pane upper sashes with some reglazing.
booking hall interior rises to 2 floors and its facing ashlar elevations
has Giant Order pilasters including a base course, plain frieze and
modillioned and egg and dart cornice. Mosaic flooring is known to exist
under later covering. Ground floor openings to peripheral shops and
ticket area have been altered. All the keystones have cartouches some
with carved cyphers. There is an elaborate 9-compartment ceiling,
divided by coffered mahogany bands. Central dome, cast iron, with
geometric tracery and small cupola, supported on drum with panels of
putti and garlands. Outer glazed part with elaborate wrought iron
grilles. Plaster panels in corners with arabesque and Rococo ornament.
The station roof is of ridge and furrow type with an aluminium
cassette system with laminated glass. It is supported on cast iron
columns and masonry screen and retaining walls, and on the central
office block. Corinthian columns on elaborate octagonal panelled bases
formerly acted as downpipes to drain the roof valleys.
station PARCELS OFFICE is located at street level at Waverley Bridge and
was erected 1898-1900. It is a single-storey 3 by 7 bay flat-roofed
classically detailed building with round-headed openings between paired
pilasters. Its interior was converted to restaurant use around 1988.
Flanking the parcels office are 2 mirror image classically detailed
carriageway ramps including lamp standards from Waverley Bridge to
platform level, with footpaths; they are both constructed in 2 sections,
with covered ends in station built of solid, grooved ashlar retaining
walls with stepped balustrading.
The entrance from Market Street
is lintelled between pilastered ashlar piers with pulvinated frieze,
prominent cornice, and scrolled terminals with ball finials.
There are internal high level footbridges which have been variously
altered but are primarily X-shaped and lattice girder truss construction
and supported on cast iron Roman Doric columns with octagonal panelled
bases; survival of some ornamental wrought iron railings in places.
WAVERLEY BRIDGE is an integral part of the station and acts as roof
over the west end of the platforms. Dating to 1894-6 by Blyth and
Westland engineers, it incorporates fabric from the earlier bridge
including the 1870s lattice girder structure. It is a 7-span plate
girder bridge, with later fibreglass covering to steel parapet. Each
span is carried on 7 octagonal, tapering cast iron columns with Gothic
bases and bracketed tops. Carriageway and footpaths on brick arches,
some transverse, some longitudinal.
Statement of Special Interest
When it was rebuilt at the very end of the 19th century, Waverley became
the largest station in Britain (until the new Waterloo Station in London
was opened in 1921) and is remarkably well-planned and effective, even
by modern standards. It is one of UK's greatest surviving Victorian city
stations and is distinct in having the largest island platform
configuration in the country.
The late 19th century roof profile
made of parallel lattice girders, in an unusual ridge and furrow
arrangement was designed so that it would not interfere with the
historic setting but also to accommodate complex railway traffic which
required a wide expanse of parallel track.
Waverley Station is
located in a key position within Edinburgh's city centre and is at a
historic juncture between the Old Town and the New Town in the valley of
the former Nor' Loch. It is an important component of the Edinburgh's
historic urban setting, and represents the significant changes to the
city's core following the modernisation brought forward by the railways
during the golden age of their expansion in the late 19th and early 20th
The station is a contiguous architectural link between
the highly prominent North Bridge and the lower Waverley Bridge which
itself frames the eastern end of Princes Street Gardens and along with
the connecting railway lines to the east and west of the station,
defines the landscape of the gardens below Princes Street.
Waverley was the flagship station for the North British Railway at the
time it was comprehensively rebuilt in the 1890s. The planning of
Waverley Station is based on its lower-ground location which has led to
the extensive island-platform arrangement, unusual for such a large city
station and consequently the largest of its kind in Britain.
While later development for operational and commercial needs took place
in the 20th century, and continues to take place, the main late 19th
century buildings' plan forms are substantially intact.
to reorganise the station and site was a monumental engineering
achievement at the time and included the rebuilding of North Bridge –
while the station remained in operation – to allow for increased rail
traffic. At the time of rebuilding, Waverley covered an extensive 23
acres to accommodate a singularly complex rail traffic system that
created unusually a terminus and a through station.
outstanding feature of the station is the extensive roof ridge and
furrow roof system. While technologically interesting, it was also a
solution to ensure the station itself would remain low-lying in its
restricted location between the North Bridge and the Waverley Bridge and
not interrupt Edinburgh's historic skyline. This roof was similar in
form to the one constructed in 1869-74 but covered a much greater area.
The horizontal arrangement of the roof was favoured in Scotland in
contrast to the tall cathedral roof commonly found at large city
stations in other parts of the UK. The current roofing system follows
the original pattern and is an aluminium cassette system with laminated
The Free Renaissance architectural detailing is of high
quality and is consistently applied to the principal building within the
station, with the overall appearance of the station retaining its late
19th century character.
The former parcels office is located on
the site of the previous (mid 19th century) station building and is
designed in a simple classical style reminiscent of the earlier station
William Robert Galbraith (1829–1914), civil engineer,
was the North British Railways Parliamentary Consultant, acting as a
resident expert and adviser during Parliamentary hearings on the
company's engineering. He was consulting engineer for the London and
Southwestern Railway from 1862 to 1907.
James Bell (junior)
(1844-1935) was the son of James Bell (senior), formerly engineer in
chief of the North British Railway. He entered the service of the North
British as a junior in his father's department in 1860 and at the end of
his training as a civil engineer was appointed district engineer of that
company's central and eastern sections. In 1871 he was appointed
assistant engineer and later in the same year he succeeded his father as
James Simpson Pirie (1860-1943), site engineer
of Blyth, Cunningham and Westland. The first 40 years of Pirie's
professional life were spent almost entirely on railway and dock
construction works, first for the Caledonian and afterwards for the
North British Railway Companies in Scotland. He entered the practice of
Blyth & Cunningham in Edinburgh in 1877 rising to the position of chief
assistant in the early years of the 20th century and then to Partner in
1917 when the firm was known as Blyth and Blyth.
firm of Cunningham, Blyth & Westland had its origin in B & E Blyth
founded in 1848 by Benjamin Hall Blyth and his brother Edward. They
established a reputation as consulting engineers. They had a reputation
for efficiency and thoroughness and the years 1870 to 1900 were the
Blyth firm's busiest, mainly with railway work. Benjamin Hall Blyth died
in 1866. George Miller Cunningham, who had been the firm's chief
assistant for many years, was taken into partnership in 1867, the
practice becoming Blyth & Cunningham. Edward Blyth retired in 1886 and
David Monro Westland, who had joined the firm as an apprentice in 1863
and had risen to the post of chief assistant, was taken into
partnership, the practice title changing to Cunningham, Blyth &
Westland. When Cunningham retired in 1893, the firm was renamed as Blyth
Herbert Waller Raithby (b. 1870) began working for
the engineers Cunningham, Blyth & Westland (after 1893 Blyth & Westland)
likely in the late 1880s as civil engineer and architect's assistant and
later promoted to chief architectural assistant. Engineering of June
1900 records the main station building's design as by 'Mr Raithby, the
Chief Architectural Assistant' of Blyth & Westland.
Station was the hub of the North British Railway (NBR) with a rail
network expanding to 1,389 miles of track at its peak. The NBR was the
northernmost link in a chain of railways connecting London to Edinburgh
via York and Newcastle and in 1846 it was the first railway company to
cross the Scottish-English border. The building of Waverley Station in
the late 19th century coincided with the NBR's heyday, the period after
the building of the (second) Tay Bridge and the Forth Bridge in 1887 and
1890 respectively up until the First World War. The NBR was later taken
over by the London and North Eastern Railway and finally by British Rail
when the railways were nationalised in the 1960s. The station is now
owned and managed by Network Rail.
The Waverley Steps were
constructed before the Waverley Market was erected in the 1870s and have
been significantly altered in early 21st century. The steps were not
considered of special interest at the time of the listing review (2015).
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2015.
Previously listed as 'Waverley Station, 4, 17, 31 and 33 Waverley Bridge
and 31, 32, 36-39 (Inclusive Nos) Market Street Including Waverley
Bridge and 45 Market Street (Sub-structure only)'.
Bartholomew, J. G. (1901-2) Bartholomew's Plan
of Edinburgh and Leith with Suburbs Constructed from Ordnance and Actual
Surveys. Edinburgh: Bartholomew.
Alan Baxter and Associates,
(2006-7) Edinburgh Waverley Station – Statement of Significance and
Guiding Principles for Future Development. Report compiled for Historic
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, William Robert
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, James
Bell (junior) http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=100228
Dictionary of Scottish Architects,
Cunningham, Blyth and Westland http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200441
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, James
Simpson Pirie http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200632
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Herbert
Waller Raithby http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=207476
Engineering Waverley Station (1900), Vol.
Gifford, J., McWilliam, C. and Walker, D. (1984) Buildings of
Scotland: Edinburgh. London: Penguin Books. pp. 289-1.
R. (1976) The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland, Vol. 1. London:
Batsford. P. 191.
Network Rail. (2009) Edinburgh Waverley Station
– Strategic Conservation Document. Unpublished.
(1877) Large scale town plans, Edinburgh. London: Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance Survey. (1894) Large scale town plans, Edinburgh. London: