The North British Hotel (now the Balmoral), by William Hamilton Beattie

The North British Hotel (now the Balmoral). William Hamilton Beattie, 1840-1898. 1895-1902. 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh. Click on image to enlarge it.

This impressively four-square building was designed as the railway hotel for Waverley Station, Edinburgh, which occupies the dip where the city's Old Town and the New Town meet, and is the UK's largest railway station outside London ("Edinburgh Waverley Station"). The project was planned in response to increased passenger volume after the Forth Railway Bridge opened in 1890. Described as "[q]uadrangular in plan, aggressive in bulk, and C16 Franco-German in detail," it has been criticised for its "bulbous" clocktower, but praised for the "massively wrought skyline and extravagant bows and balconies" on its more open sides (Gifford et al. 285). As with the same architect's department store, Jenners, much thought was given to fireproof construction. According to Miles Gledinning and Aonghus MacKechnie, the hotel "consumed over 1,6700 tonnes of steel framing" (172).

Left: The hotel backlit and seen from a different angle. Right: Looking down Princes Street with the Scott Monument behind. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee (2010) and George P. Landow (2016). Text by JB. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


"Edinburgh Waverley Station" (Edinburgh Guide site). Viewed 3 March 2010.

Gifford, John, et. al. Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland series). London: Penguin, rev. ed. 1991.

Glendinning, Miles and Aonghus MacKechnie. Scottish Architecture. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004.

Last modified 19 September 2016