William Henry Playfair, Architect, Died.

  • March 19, 1857

William Henry Playfair FRSE (15 July 1790 – 19 March 1857) was a prominent Scottish architect in the 19th century who designed the Eastern, or Third, New Town and many of Edinburgh’s neoclassical landmarks.

Playfair was Initiated into Scottish Freemasonry in Lodge St David, No.36, (Edinburgh, Scotland) on 18 January 1815.

Playfair died in Edinburgh on 19 March 1857, and is buried in the “Lord’s Row” on the western wall of Edinburgh’s Dean Cemetery, where he designed monuments for others, including Lord Jeffrey.

Two of his finest works are the neoclassical buildings of the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy which are in the centre of Edinburgh. The Playfair Project, completed in 2004, joined the two historic buildings with an underground link. Many of his architectural drawings are held by the University of Edinburgh Heritage Collections.