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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 27030 76584
  • Coordinates327030, 676584


Robert Reid, 1810-12; additions and alterations by William Burn, 1825. Severe neo-classical symmetrical 2-storey 11-bay building, with attic storey to advanced centrepiece and end bays; single storey stable range to rear; Burn?s additions include perron stair, single storey pavilions and single storey links to stables. Cream sandstone ashlar; base course, cill course to 1st floor, band course above, dentilled cornice; balustraded parapet between panelled and coped attic storeys; punched windows.

S (COMMERCIAL STREET) ELEVATION: 3-bay pedimented centrepiece with pair of fluted Greek Doric columns set in antis between broad piers, each pier with niche at ground and framed square panel above; Royal arms (carved from wood) in tympanum; 2-leaf panelled door with moulded architrave and cornice; perron steps, panelled to front, with bulbous balusters and piers. 3 bays and broader advanced end bay to either side. Flanking advanced single storey pavilions with window in recessed arch; moulded impost course; cornice and blocking course with raised panelled central tablet. Arrowhead cast-iron railings on flat ashlar bed between pavilions and centrepiece.

W (DOCK PLACE) ELEVATION: at ground, single storey pavilion to S with large rectangular window in recessed segmental-arched panel, moulded impost course, panelled door with 3-pane rectangular fanlight to right, blocking course with raised panelled tablet; coursed single storey rubble screen wall enclosing stable court to S with 2 small windows and door between extends to tall ashlar carriage gateway detailed as pavilion but with 2-leaf boarded gates in round-headed arch. Recessed to N, piend-roofed 2-storey 3-bay end of coursed rubble stables, central window of 1st floor blind. 1st floor of main block with pair of central windows and slightly advanced outer bays.

E (WATERFRONT) ELEVATION: as above, but: S pavilion with round-headed arch and standard window (no door); ashlar screen with 5 bays, panelled door to left with consoled cornice, narrow door to inner left with flanking sidelights, 3 windows to right. Stable pavilion with door to centre at ground.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: 2-storey and attic 8-bay; coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; band course, cornice and parapet to advanced single end bays only; windows to each bay of principal floors. Centre 4 bays advanced with attic windows and pediment. Flanking bays with round- headed loading bay breaking eaves at centre; projecting porch to 3rd bay from left; inner right bays with projecting garage door addition at ground. End pavilions (see above).

STABLE RANGE: coursed rubble 2-storey 12-bay range with stugged ashlar dressings; 4 central bays with irregular fenestration between pair of slightly advanced fronts with recessed archways (blank to left, windows to both floors to right) and blocking courses, 2 bays beyond and taller end bays.

12-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slates, piended roofs; cast-iron downpipes; decorative rainwater heads stamped GIIIR.

INTERIOR: classical theme continues, much-altered by Burn. Lobby leads via tripartite doorway with elliptical fanlight to oblong central stair-hall with Imperial stair going down to ground level and up to gallery and principal floor; acanthus balusters embossed with lions rampant; oval dome on pendentives and elliptical arches with coffered soffits, opening through smaller elliptical-headed doorways to room each side. To E top-lit Boardroom, with apsidal ended meeting room beyond; to W top-lit arcaded Long Room with D-shaped room beyond. To E at ground Burn's public reception room created in single storey link with direct access; elaborate 9-compartment ceiling on bracketed cornice (now fitted out as exhibition room).

Statement of Special Interest

The interior was massively altered by Burn, who put in the stair, and is now used as storage by the National Museums of Scotland; it's appearance reflects that use.



NMRS EDD 132/1-4. RCAHMS INVENTORY No 229. John R Hume THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF SCOTLAND London (1976) Vol I. F Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER IV (1895) p482. David Patterson & Joe Rock THOMAS BEGBIE?S EDINBURGH Edinburgh (1992) p124. Thomas H Shepherd MODERN ATHENS London (1829). RIAS EDINBURGH (1992) p222. Gifford EDINBURGH (1988) pp462-3.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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