WHERE IS IT? At 64 Waterloo Street in the city centre, three blocks west of Central Station
Now known as Coltas House, this unusual red sandstone building stands out like a sore thumb amidst the modern constructions of glass and steel, not only for its tower but also the statues that decorate the exterior.
Designed by architect James Chalmers in 1898, he opted for a mix of Renaissance and Tudor styling, with the tower originally having a French dome crowning it, although this has since been lost when neighbouring buildings were demolished.
It was built for distillery company Wright & Greig, who owned the Dallasmore distillery in Speyside, better known nowadays as the Dallas Dhu Scotch Whisky Distillery Museum. They were originally owned by Alexander Edward, who sold them to Wright & Greig in exchange for part ownership. They used the distillery to blend their famous Rhoderick Dhu whisky blend, named after the famous Scottish chieftain of the Clan Alpine. He is one of the statues that stand guard over the doorway into Distillers’ House. The other is believed to be James Fitz-James, the Knight of Snowdoun. Both men appear as characters in Sir Walter Scott’s poem The Lady of the Lake. The titular Lady herself is found perched above the first-floor window that juts out from the corner.
In recent years, there have been proposals developed by Ryder Architecture on behalf of Brickland Ltd, to turn the building into apartments. It would restore and repurpose key parts of the category B listed building, which has been left to deteriorate for some time.
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