Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26667 76706
326667, 676706


William C Laidlaw, 1903; extended 1926, 1931 and 1960s; converted to offices 1981, Gordon and Latimer. Symmetrical 2-storey and attic 3-bay English Baroque villa with single bay addition to E. Cream ashlar sandstone; squared snecked and bull-faced to rear.

S (COMMERCIAL STREET) ELEVATION: original villa with base course, corniced to ground floor, moulded cill course to 1st floor and mutuled cornice with blocking course; long and short quoins. 3 steps to projecting doorpiece; broad 2-leaf panelled door with semi-circular leaded fanlight, moulded architrave, acanthus keystone and cartouches in spandrels; flanked by paired engaged Ionic columns on pedestals, supporting broken pediment with large cartouche at centre (inscribed MACDONALD HOUSE). 3 tall windows to flanking bays at ground. Venetian windows to 1st floor bays, outer ones with brackets at centre; plaques between bays. Corniced box dormers; bipartite at centre, tripartite to outer bays. Single bay extension to right detailed as above (no quoins), with full ashlar attic storey having 4 round-headed windows in set-in panel at centre; corniced tablet above parapet with legend LEITH NAUTICAL COLLEGE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT ERECTED 1926. Modern 2-storey glazed brick extension to right. Adjoins cooperage to left.

N ELEVATION: 2-storey and attic 3-bay. Centre and left bays obscured by modern breeze block addition at ground. Centre bay with stair windows and raised wallhead forming square watchtower with glazed ogee-roofed timber cupola behind central stack. Right bay with bipartite and single windows to both floors; left bay with tripartite window to 1st floor. Corniced tripartite box-dormers abutt watchtower.

Original glazing; timber windows with plate glass lower panels and multi-pane upper panels. Piend and platform roof with railings around viewing platform; grey slates. Corniced ashlar stack to W. Original cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: plaster corniced and consoled vestibule. Classrooms partitioned and stained glass, cornices and figurines on stair inserted circa 1978-9.

FRONT WALLS AND RAILINGS: dwarf saddleback-coped ashlar walls flank doorpiece with origianl decorative wrought-iron railings.

Statement of Special Interest

Leith Navigation School had been founded in 1855, in a room in the Mariner's Church, and had been in adapted premises in Dock Place since 1882. This was its first purpose built college and was opened on 4th February 1903 by Lord Balfour of Burleigh. The extension, for marine engineering, was opened by Lord Novar.



James S Marshall THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LEITH (1985) pp111-115. Gifford EDINBURGH (1988) p480.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 15/09/2019 09:36