Acheson House

Venue details
5 Bakehouse Close
Edinburgh Area
Telephone (info)
0131 220 7720
About the venue

Historic Edinburgh City Council owned property in the Old Town which was built in 1633 for Sir Archibald Acheson, Secretary of State for King Charles I.

Acheson House lay empty from 1991 to 2011 when it was occupied following refurbishment by Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

Acheson house is now a museum hub with its adjacent property the Museum of Edinburgh.


  • 1633: Acheson House built for Sir Archibald Acheson, a Secretary of State for King Charles I. Acheson probably never gets to live in his new house as he dies the following year.
  • 1636: Property sold to Patrick Wood, a wealthy Edinburgh merchant. Through the rest of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century Acheson House is sold many times, often in settlement of debts.
  • 1784: Property bought by the Incorporation of Bakers in the Canongate.
  • 1830: The property is taken by John Slater, and then stays in the family for almost hundred years. The 1851 census shows a total of 323 people living in the buildings around Bakehouse Close, indicating a real decline in living standards.
  • 1924: Acheson House taken over by the council as part of a slum clearance scheme in the Canongate.
  • 1935:  Following a series of letters to The Scotsman drawing attention to its plight, the property is bought by the Marquess of Bute, who commissions the architect Robert Hurd to lead the restoration project.
  • 1938: Suggested as the official residence of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
  • 1939: Become the ‘parish house’ for the nearby Canongate Kirk, and is used as a base by the Iona Community.
  • 1950s: Acheson House becomes the Scottish Craft Centre.
  • 1991: The house returns to the ownership of the City of Edinburgh Council.
  • 2011: Occupied by Edinburgh World Heritage Trust on ground and first floor following renovations.

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