Both the oldest and the newest building at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, the Botanic Cottage dates from1764-5 but only moved to its present location in 2016.  The cottage with its two adjoining wings and doors was originally built at the entrance to the Botanic Garden in Leith Walk. Home to the head gardener, the cottage also housed a classroom used for teaching the botany classes which were essential to the medical students of the day.


The original design for the entrance to the Leith Walk Botanic Garden
The Botanic Cottage in its original location in the late 18th century


When the Garden moved to its present home, in 1820, the cottage became a private house. The building changed hands many times and deteriorated over the years while the level of the adjoining roadway was raised so much that one of the upstairs windows was converted to a door.  By the early 2000s the cottage had been abandoned and set on fire.



Saved by a community campaign, the cottage was transferred stone by stone to the present day Garden and rebuilt as the focal point of the Demonstration Garden. This is the practical teaching hub of the Botanic Garden, where horticulture students, schools and community groups cultivate their own plots. The Botanic Cottage has returned to one of its original functions as a place to learn about plants.



A post for Thursday Doors.