Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Group Category Details
100000020 - see notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25629 73472
325629, 673472


John Henderson, 1836-7. 3-storey Baronial/Jacobean corner block, 4 bays to George IV Bridge, 5 bays to Victoria Street. Polished ashlar. Cornice to ground floor; modillioned eaves course; pierced strapwork parapet. Panelled pilaster strips to corners with stylised finials. Regularly fenestrated. Modillioned cornices to 1st floor windows; projecting cills and slim cornices with central heraldic devices to 2nd floor windows.

E (GEORGE IV BRIDGE) ELEVATION: pierced parapet with ball finials to 1st floor balcony; strap-work decoration over 1st floor windows. 2-leaf decoratively panelled timber door to outer left with small-pane glazed fanlight; projecting balcony over with sculpture group (see Notes). 2-leaf timber panelled door in 2nd bay from right.

N (VICTORIA STREET) ELEVATION: timber panelled door and glazed panels in depressed-arched surround to outer right. Blind window to centre at 1st floor.

INTERIOR: top-lit reading room at 3rd floor with kingpost roof.

Small-pane glazing; timber sash and case windows to ground and 2nd floors; top hoppers to 1st floor. Stacks in solid panels of parapet with circular cans.

Statement of Special Interest

B group comprises the Central Public Library (George Washington Browne, 1887-90, separately listed) and Fine Art Department (John Henderson, 1836-7). Built for Charles Lawson, printer, the building subsequently became the Highland and Agricultural Institute, headquarters of the Highland Society, an improvement society founded in 1784, and housed an agricultural museum. Sculpture group by A Handyside Ritchie: Caledonia seated on a pedestal, crowning 2 youths (a Highland reaper and a ploughboy); low relief carving on pedestal: motto SEMPER ARMIS NUNC INDUSTRIA and the coat-of-arms of the Society. George IV Bridge and Victoria Street were part of Thomas Hamilton's plan for the new Southern Approach. Hamilton was replaced as architect to the Commissioners in 1834 by George Smith. The architectural style specified by the Commissioners of the 1827 Improvement Act for the new buildings associated with the developments (including this building) was 'Old Flemish,' a variation on Scotch Baronial owing much to the detailing of Heriot's Hospital.



Dean of Guild, 10th August 1837. Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) pp 294-5. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 226.

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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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