A CENTURIES-old tower which helped protect the British Empire’s shipping has become one of the most unusual and historic rentals on Airbnb.
The tower overlooking Leith docks was built by the last Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland, who also repaired the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle.
A one-bedroom circular flat within the Signal Tower – built in 1686 by Robert Mylne – can be rented for £59 a night.
The tower was originally designed by Mylnes as a windmill.
But in 1805 its domed roof and sails were removed and it was topped by battlements and used signal tower from which flags were displayed to let ships entering the harbour know the depth of water at the harbour bar.
The flat has maintained many of the original features, including a fire place, huge timber sash and case windows with working panelled shutters, and curved skirting boards.
Reviews of the Airbnb flat are overwhelmingly positive.
One guest said: “Beautiful and quirky place in a picturesque spot near great restaurants. Beers to welcome us on arrival and helpful hints from Grant [the host]. Totally unique, would definitely reccomend.”
Another said: “Such a great, quirky, unusual apartment. The building it’s situated in is stunning. Interior was clean and spacious and well decorated. Huge comfy bed and living area, with two big windows letting a lot of natural light in.”
Another added: “The Signal Tower is a great space to stay in whilst in Edinburgh. The room is spacious with fantastic high ceilings and Windows that show off a great view of the Shore.”
As Royal Master Mason, Mylne was responsible for works to the royal castles, and repaired Edinburgh Castle in 1662, 1677, and 1685.
In 1650, the east range of the the Palace of Holyrood House was set on fire during its occupation by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers, and after the restoration of the monarchy, Mylne pioneered its reconstruction, under orders from Charles II.
He also worked at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, Wemyss Castle in Fife, and Thirlestane Castle, in the Scottish Borders.
Robert was part of a long line of Mylnes who were distinguished in the fields of architecture and stonemasonry.
Most notably, his grandfather John Mylne was also Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland, whilst his great-grandson, also called Robert, designed Blackfriars Bridge over the River Thames, in London.