The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh -  The Caledonian.
The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian.

11 of the best red sandstone buildings around Edinburgh

The ability to transport stone by rail and canal from distant red sandstone quarries in the south of Scotland led to an explosion of “red heads” in late 19th century Edinburgh, a city famous for its abundance of greys, blondes and brunettes.

By David Mclean
Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 4:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 5:33 pm

More commonly associated with Glasgow and the west of Scotland, red sandstone architecture was once rare in the Capital as the nearest quarries were located more than a hundred kilometres away in the south of Scotland.

But this all changed with the expansion of the country’s railway network in the 1890s, which allowed for the transportation of huge quantities of quarried stone from sites in Dumfries and Annan at a cost the city could afford.

As a result, Edinburgh witnessed a surge of red sandstone buildings going up by the end of the century, including the Caledonian Hotel, the King’s Theatre, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Lauriston fire station, to name but a few.

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