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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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24527 71725
324527, 671725


Hippolyte J Blanc, 1892, converted to theatre 1962-5. Substantial rectangular-plan former Free Church with base of unbuilt tower to SW corner and Renaissance details. Red sandstone, ashlar front, coursed and square rubble to rear and sides with ashlar dressings. Base course; moulded corbel course above ground floor; cill and impost course to principal windows; eaves cornice with balustraded parapet and dies with ball finials; rusticated quoins; squat Ionic columns as mullions.

W (FRONT) ELEVATION: 3-bay with base of tower to outer right and lower single bay side wing to outer left projecting outwards; tripartite entrance to centre divided by Doric columns, centre doorway round-arched and keystoned, swagged panels over outer doors, broad channelled jambs and small windows with decoratively carved aprons flanking, later canopy to doorway. Large keystoned Venetian window flanked by giant paired pilasters in centre bay above, floral carving to spandrels, pediment over breaking eaves with swagged and louvred oval window. Outer bays with angle pilasters, single windows with semi-circular pediments and panels with floral carving above. Base of tower to outer right flat-roofed with small corniced tripartite window above corbel course. Lower side wing with single window and corniced tripartite window above corbel course; pedimented return detailed as above.

N ELEVATION: 4-bay main auditorium with cill band course, segmental-arched windows with bull's-eye windows above, corniced and keystoned secondary door with banded jambs. Lower 2-storey 5-bay hall to left with single and bipartite windows.

S ELEVATION: as N elevation with segmental-arched and bull's-eye windows (blocked up) in giant banded arch; modern fire escape stair.

Small-pane timber casements with border glazing and square leaded panes. Slate roof. Moulded eaves gutter and gutterheads.

INTERIOR: main auditorium subdivided horizontally, architraved and keystoned window surrounds, dentilled cornice with broad frieze, moulded transverse beams to depressed-arch barrel vault with plaster rosettes, former organ chamber to W with compartmental ceiling and blind timber Venetian surround. Tiled vestibule with timber panelling, architraved doorways and compartmental ceiling with floreate consoles. Rear half with compartmental coombed ceiling rising from floreate corbels, central skylights.

Statement of Special Interest

This former church is a major example of the Renaissance revival style in church building of the late 19th century period. The building, which has functioned as a theatre continuously since 1965, is in a prominent location, raised above the street level at the top of Church Hill.

Hippolyte J Blanc (1844-1917) was a prolific and esteemed Edinburgh architect and antiquarian. As well as providing important designs for public and private commissions, he was responsible for numerous churches throughout Scotland.

List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.



C J Smith, HISTORIC SOUTH EDINBURGH (Edinburgh, 1978), vol 1, pp 108-9. Gifford et al., EDINBURGH (1984), p619.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

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 planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 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.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 23/05/2018 02:19