Click for Bookshop

Liberton Bank House


(Dunedin School)

A late 18th-century sandstone cottage located between Liberton Road and Cameron Toll Shopping Centre in Edinburgh, Liberton Bank House lies 2 miles (3 km) south southeast of the city centre, in an area once described as Nether Liberton. Now occupied by Dunedin School, the building was the boyhood home of Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930). Said to be the oldest surviving building connected with the author, it is now unfortunately situated on the edge of the shopping centre's car park. Conan Doyle stayed here under the care of educational reformer Mary Burton (1819 - 1909), a family friend, to protect him from an alcoholic father and ensure his education at nearby Newington Academy. Burton rented Liberton Bank from 1844 to 1898.

Once B-listed as an example of vernacular architecture, it was badly altered in the mid-20th century and de-listed in 1997, despite its connections with Conan Doyle having been identified. Following a campaign, it was relisted as Category-C three years later, although the building was threatened with demolition in 2002 to make way for a fast-food outlet. Latterly owned by the Kilmartin Group, proprietors of the adjacent shopping centre, they gifted it to the Cockburn Conservation Trust. Following a complete refurbishment by Nicholas Groves-Raines Architects, costing £850,000, the building opened as a school in 2007. Dunedin is a small independent fee-paying school with a roll of twenty pupils who have social, emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties. Previously the school had been located in nearby Millar Hall, a former scout-hut.

An ancient sycamore tree in the grounds, which stood when Conan Doyle was resident, had become unsafe and was cut down. A violin was fashioned from its wood by Edinburgh-based musical instrument maker Steve Burnett in tribute to Sherlock Holmes, who had a famed penchant for playing as a mean of relaxation. The violin was completed in time for the 150th anniversary of Conan Doyle's birth and now takes pride-of-place in the Dunedin School.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Medical Centre, by architect Richard Murphy (2007), lies adjacent.


Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better