Caroline Park is located near the shoreline, and in modern terms is between Waterfront Avenue and West Shore Road.
But when it was first built in the late sixteenth century, neither road existed and it was in quite an isolated location near the Firth of Forth. In later years the area became industrialised, particularly after Granton Harbour was built nearby starting in the 1830s.
Caroline Park was built in about 1585 by Andrew Logan. Its location was close to the older Granton Castle. In 1683 it was bought (along with the Royston estate on which it was located) by Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat. He rebuilt the house to form a quadrangle and changed the entrance to be on the south side (towards Edinburgh) rather than the north, where it had been previously. Until about 1739 it was known as Royston House.
The property remained a house until the mid nineteenth century, but its surroundings gradually became less attractive when various industrial premises were built nearby. In 1872 it was bought by A B Fleming & Co, who operated the Scottish Printing Ink Factory and Chemical Works just to the west of the house, and was used by them as offices (according to one source, until 1983).
Subsequently it was restored and is now a private residence again.
|1665||George Graham the younger of Inchbrace|
|1683||Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat|
|1739||John Campbell, Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich|
|1742||Francis Scott, Earl of Dalkeith (through marriage to the daughter of the Duke of Argyll). He was eldest son of the Duke of Buccleuch but died before his father so did not become Duke.|
|1794||Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch|
|then||successive Dukes of Buccleuch|
|1872||A B Fleming & Co|
|1983 (?)||Duke of Buccleuch|
|1987||Andrew and Brigetta Parnell|
The house as built in the 1580s was described as a substantial mansion. It was substantially altered in the 1680s and 1690s to form a quadrangle and then to have a new entrance on the south side. In the 1740s it was again altered, the architect being William Adam, a highly regarded architect and father of Robert and John Adam.
‘The Buildings of Scotland’ (see sources and further information below) describes the south front as ‘without parallel in Scotland’. The photographs above and below illustrate this.
The land around the house was laid out as ornamental gardens, but these were gradually reduced in size and largely vanished by the middle of the nineteenth century. The Granton Burn ran close to the the building and its line can be traced by the irregular line to the north west and north of the house on the 1896 map.
Substantial gateways were built in rusticated stonework – the one at the north side of the estate is original (in the second photograph below) but the one to the south was built new when Waterfont Avenue was formed.
Following many years of use as offices, the building has been restored to residential use by the Parnells and is lived in by them. The industrial buildings nearby have largely been cleared, including an oil storage area to the east, and the railway line has been removed. New streets have been built and new homes built, changing the surroundings considerably.
Sources and further information
The link above is to a search page which will let you access a number of historical photographs.
The following contain more information about Caroline Park:
|The Buildings of Scotland – Edinburgh||John Gifford, Colin McWilliam, David Walker||Penguin Books||1984 (revised 1988)||014071068x|
|An archaeological desk-based assessment of Caroline Park, Granton, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland||Christopher K Currie||(previously available online at archaeologydataservice .ac.uk/)||2001||-|