Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  House of the Bush, Midlothian: designs for a house and stables for Robert Trotter, 1791, executed in part (9)



House of the Bush, Midlothian: designs for a house and stables for Robert Trotter, 1791, executed in part (9)


There is not much known about Robert Trotter, of The Bush, Castlelaw, and Dryden, Midlothian (d.1807). He married Ann, daughter of John Trotter Esq or Castleshiels Co. Berwick and of Horton, Surrey in 1787 and was Postmaster-General for Scotland. In c.1748, his father, Archibald Trotter, inherited the Bush estate through his marriage to Jean Moubray, and together they built a farmhouse. The estate was later inherited by Robert Trotter pre-1791, although there is no conclusive date.

In 1791, the Adam office prepared designs for a new house and stables for Robert Trotter. There were two variant designs for the house, one containing a large two-room deep wing adjoing the house, and one with an additional oval-shaped hall and lobby in between. It is not clear to which plans the elevations of the house relate. Neither of these designs were executed but changes were made to the existing house which are similar to the Adam office designs and have been attributed to Robert and James Adam. These include the reorientation of the entrance from the south end of the house to the east within a full-story bow, and insertion of an internal staircase and balustrade. The cornice and ceiling above the staircase have also been attributed to Robert and James Adam but there is no evidence to support this.

There were two Adam office designs for the stable court and offices, one castellated and one classical. It would appear that the classical design was executed, although with variations and later additions. The east end of the court was designed with its own internal courtyard, however, this was omitted and the range was built to align symmetrically with the rest of the stable court and offices.

In 1894-5, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson was commissioned to alter the roof, enclose the porch, and extend to the northwest of the house. The family also owned Dryden House which had become inhabitable by the mid-nineteenth century, removing furniture and fittings such as chimneypieces, tiles and stair balusters from Dryden House and installing them in the House of the Bush. From the mid-twentieth century onwards, the property has been used by the Edinburgh Centre of Rural Economy. The estate has since grown and been occupied by a number of different institutions all broadly related to ecology.

Literature: A.T. Bolton, The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, Volume II, Index, 1922, pp. 5, 89; D. King, The Complete Works of Robert & James Adam and Unbuilt Adam, Volume 1, 2001, pp. 394, 406; Volume 2, pp. 161, 216, 244; N. Pevsner, The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian, 1978, pp. 127-128; B. Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 2, 1886, pp. 1854-5; Historic Environment Scotland, ‘The Bush House including Stables, Laundry House, Boundary Walls, Gate Piers, Gates’, online

Louisa Catt, 2023



If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).  

Contents of House of the Bush, Midlothian: designs for a house and stables for Robert Trotter, 1791, executed in part (9)