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The Booking Office

Have a history lesson on Edinburgh whilst waiting for your train.

17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1BQ

In 1846, the North British Railway Company built a station here which was then altered many times and even rebuilt in the 1890s. All that remains of the original railway station is the much-remodelled booking office which then became the parcels office for many years, until around 1984. The grade A listed façade was also carefully altered when the building was subsequently converted into licensed premises.

A plaque documenting the history of The Booking Office.

The text reads: This historic building looks west across Princes Street Gardens and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1846, the North British Railway Company built a station at this end of the gardens. All that now remains is the much remodelled Booking Office. Originally, it had nine arches at the front. The wings on either side were slightly set back. Each wing was three arches wide and seven arches deep. The booking Office later became the Parcels Office, until c1984. It was converted into licensed premises, prior to becoming a restaurant and then a Wetherspoon freehouse.

These premises were refurbished by J D Wetherspoon and opened in March 2016.

Framed photographs and text about The Booking Office.

The text reads: In 1846, the North British Railway Company built North Bridge Station at the east end of Nor Loch. Two rival companies each opened a station here, in quick succession. In 1854, all three stations were combined and renamed ‘Waverley’, after the famous novel by Sir Walter Scott. By 1865, the NBR had ‘absorbed’ its rivals and built a new station. It rebuilt Waverley again in the 1890’s. All that remains of the original North British railway station is the much remodelled Booking Office. The photo above shows the building with a 9-arch façade, set between two wings slightly set back, each 3 arches wide and 7 arches deep. The wings have long been demolished. The booking office became the Parcels Office for many years, until c1984. The Grade A listed façade was altered when the building was subsequently converted into licensed premises.

A mosaic replica of the one in the original booking hall of Waverley station, on the floor in the main entrance. 

The text reads: The mosaic in this entrance area, is a replica of the one in the original Booking Hall of Waverley Station. It depicts the coat-of-arms of the North British Railway Company.

Edinburgh Waverley Station, originally Edinburgh General Station, was completed in 1846 to replace Haymarket as the Eastern terminus of the North British Railway. It was massively extended following the completion of the Forth Railway Bridge.
This mosaic detail was part of the mosaic floor of the booking hall which was built in 1892-1902. The floor and timber panelled booking office were removed in 1970.

A framed photograph of the former Booking Office’s booking hall.

The text reads: The former Booking Office, Booking Hall, Waverley Station. Edinburgh Waverley Station was designed by James Bell, chief engineer for the North British Railway, in 1868-74, to replace an earlier station on the same site. At the time of opening, its 13-acre glass roof was one of the largest in the world.

The varnished wooden central booking office (on which this joinery detail is based) was removed from the Booking Hall in a partial remodelling of the station in 1970.

A framed poster advertising The Flying Scotsman service between London and Edinburgh.

A framed poster advertising The Flying Scotsman weekday schedule.

A framed photograph of Edinburgh Waverley station, in 1945.

The text reads: Refreshment trolley on a platform at Edinburgh Waverley Station c1945. Passengers could buy drinks, cakes, fruit and sandwiches from these trolleys.

A framed photograph of The Elizabethan train at Waverley station, in 1961.

The text reads: The ‘Elizabethan’ at Waverley station c1961. A4 Class Steam Locomotive No.60024, ‘Kingfisher’, with the Elizabethan 9:45am passenger train departing for London’s Kings Cross Station.

Railway-inspired design features located around the pub.

A framed collection of souvenir-style items, displayed on luggage tags, relating to Edinburgh Waverley station.

These include The Edinburgh Waverley clock, fragile label, train tickets and old coins.

A framed collage and text about the parcel office.

The text reads: The former station parcels office is located at street level at Waverley Bridge and was erected 1898-1900. It is a single-storey 3 by 7 bay flat roofed classically detailed building with round-headed opening between paired pilasters. Its interior was converted to restaurant use around 1988.

A framed collage of the booking hall and offices.

A printed collection of book extracts about Edinburgh, then illustrated to display Sir Walter Scott.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk