National Records of Scotland

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William Henry Playfair (1790-1857)

William Henry Playfair (1790-1857)

Architect

William Henry Playfair was born in London on 7 July 1790, the son of James Playfair, architect. After the death of his father in 1794 he was sent to live with his uncle, John Playfair (1748-1819) in Edinburgh. He trained as an architect and achieved fame after winning the competition to complete the quadrangle of Edinburgh University's Old College in 1815. He went on to design many notable buildings in the classical style. His works include part of the New Town, the National Gallery, Royal Scottish Academy, National Monument and the Observatory on Calton Hill.

1851 census

In 1851 William Henry Playfair, head of household, unmarried (U), 60, architect was living at 17 Great Stuart Street in the parish of St Cuthbert's. The census schedule continues on the next page and provides details of his two servants.

1851 census record for William Henry Playfair

1851 census record for William Henry Playfair (16 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1851/685-2/201, page 16

Death in 1857

William Henry Playfair, 67, architect died on 19 March 1857. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of Dean and Morningside shows he was single. His mother's name is recorded as Rachel Playfair and his place of burial as the Dean Cemetery. The informant of the death was 'butler to the deceased'.

Death entry for William Henry Playfair

Death entry for William Henry Playfair (29 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1857/685-1/128

Testament of William Henry Playfair

National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/94 pp 415-423

View transcript (99 KB PDF)

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