History of B+B Edinburgh

Our guests often ask about the history of this charming townhouse… Well, make a cup of tea and relax, here is the story of our beautiful building at 3 Rothesay Terrace.

3 Rothesay Terrace was originally built as a family home and was owned first by Mr John Ritchie Findlay—then founder of The Scotsman—and his wife Susan (nee Leslie), who lived here with their three sons and seven daughters. In 1883, Findlay hired Sydney Mitchell to design the interior of the building to suit his tastes and position in society. The majority of the features you see today date from this period. Mitchell created the lofty entrance hall with an intricately carved colonnade separating the stairs from the rest of the space, and designed public rooms suitable for the family to live, work, and entertain in. On the ground floor the Dining Room features a terrace overlooking the Dean Village, as well as more intricate hand-carved woodwork. Findlay purchased the land that you can see from the balcony in our breakfast room, commissioning Mitchell to design and build accommodation for the workers living in the Dean Village. This collaboration resulted in Well Court, with its distinctive clock tower and courtyard, still visible from the rear of the building.

On the first floor, an impressive library with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, was designed to emulate that of Abbotsford House. The Morning Room next to it, now the Angus Room, provided a light and airy entertaining space for social visits. At the back of the property, the grand Drawing Room ran the width of the building, with an impressive view over the Dean Village and the Firth of Forth.

Upon Findlay’s death, his eldest son, also John Ritchie Findlay (later Sir John) inherited the property. Sir John lived here with his wife Harriet Jane and their two daughters and three sons until his death in 1930.

Lady Harriet then donated the building to the Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, which became Queen Margaret College in 1972. Rothesay Terrace was used to provide residential accommodation for young ladies who were attending the School. During the 1960s, the College had a rather formidable bursar called Alice Melvin, who was remembered in the name ‘Melvin House’ later given to the building.

In 2011 the B+B Collection acquired the former Melvin House Hotel and undertook a further extensive refurbishment, converting the Hotel into the new B+B Edinburgh.

During the course of the renovations, the original doors to the Morning Room were found stored in the lightwell in the centre of the building, and so were restored to their rightful position in place of the fire safety doors installed by the NHS. In 2011 the B+B Collection acquired the former Melvin House Hotel and undertook a further extensive refurbishment, converting the Hotel into the new B+B Edinburgh.

The B+B Collection have modernized the décor and amenities in the bedrooms and public spaces while making the most of the original Victorian features, and recognizing the significant contribution of the first owner, whose influence can still be seen throughout.


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B+B Edinburgh
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B+B Edinburgh
+44 (0) 131 225 5084 info@bb-edinburgh.com
B+B Edinburgh
3 Rothesay Terrace

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