•.Moray House Estates & History | Chessel's Land

photo of Chessel's Land
.Opened in 1974

The early 1970s saw the development of three specialist teaching buildings by Moray House: St Leonard's Land (Physical Education), Chessel's Land (Visual Arts) and St Mary's Land (Science and Technical). The architects for all three were Gordon and Dey. The design of these buildings was representative of late 1960s modernist architecture and somewhat out of sympathy with the surrounding areas of the Old Town.

Chessel's Land
was designed as a specialist centre for the training of teachers in the Visual Arts. In its sixteen large studios students could gain experience in a range of media including painting, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, photography and jewellery. A large Exhibition Hall was available for both student and external use. The bulk of the building is on land formerly occupied by the Edinburgh and Leith Brewery and before that by the Old Edinburgh Playhouse.

The first teaching was held in Chessel's Land in January 1974.

In the original plan for the site the raised patio in front of Chessel's Land was planned to connect with a proposed Library and a Theatre fronting onto Holyrood Road. These buildings in turn were to be connected with the St Leonard's Physical Education building across Holyrood Road. In the event these plans were ruled out by the SED in 1978. The Theatre was never built and a new Library was eventually developed in Dalhousie Land.

Chessel's Land takes its name from Archibald Chessel, a successful wright to trade and stalwart member of the Tron Kirk who lived in the eighteenth century. He built the nearby Chessel's Court between 1745 and 1748. These were much admired mansion flats built to accommodate persons of standing.

In 1993 Chessel's Land became the base for the Aesthetic Studies Department, when Drama studios were added. In 1996 Music was transferred from Old Moray House.

At the time of writing there are plans to integrate Moray House's Science and Technology facilities into Chessel's Land.

Material compiled & edited in 2002 by David Starsmeare and Hugh Perfect


[ estates map page | about us | Moray House homepage ]

Published by the Moray House School of Education, Old Moray House, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
All material is copyright The University of Edinburgh, Moray House School of Education