Kelso, Bridge Street, Ednam House

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Alternative Names Ednam House Hotel; Havannah House
Canmore ID 98111
Site Number NT73SW 242
NGR NT 72717 33836
Parish KELSO
Former Region BORDERS
Former District ROXBURGH
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Accessing Scotland's Past

Overlooking the nearby River Tweed, Ednam House was built in 1751 by the architect James Nisbet. His two-and-a-half-storeyed building was described as one of his finest private houses. The sumptuous interior design and furnishings mirror the elegant exterior, and the most notable feature is the elaborate plasterwork featuring Classical motifs.

Approaching the pedimented entrance front of Ednam House, the Classical influences in Nisbet's design are evident. The pediment above the three central bays contains a wreathed coat of arms. The windows make a statement about the house, the larger ground-floor windows reflecting the fact that the main rooms of the house, those seen by visitors, were here. The rooms on the floor above have much smaller windows, reflecting their lesser importance. At the rear of the house is a large semi-octagonal bay with a balustrade, its tall windows overlooking the nearby River Tweed. The garden contained two late eighteenth-century summerhouses, one of which was destroyed in 1948 in a flood, the other being converted into a house. Wings were added in the 1930s and a further extension to the west in 1955.

The builder of the house was James Dickson, a native of Kelso, who left his home town as a young man dogged by allegations of vandalising a well. Having made his fortune in North America, principally as naval agent in Havana during the British campaign in Cuba, Dickson returned to Kelso and commissioned Nisbet to build a fine house for him. His house, originally named 'Havannah House', stands on the site of the Chatto Lodging House, whose residents include Bonnie Prince Charlie, who stayed there when his forces occupied Kelso in 1745. The doors in the house are made with hardwoods from Havana.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project at

Architectural Notes

NT73SW 242.00 72717 33836

NT73SW 242.01 72675 33853 Garden House
NT73SW 242.02 72775 33766 Gate Piers, Garden Walls and Terrace Walls


Date: 1761
Architect: James Nisbet

Currently Ednam House Hotel
Originally Ednam House before being bought up by a merchant. Havannah is probably a local nick-name (Information - Kitty Cruft)

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