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
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25801 73586
325801, 673586


William Nixon, 1845-9. 4-storey, falling to 7 at rear, 5 x 8 bay, Classical, former Police Chambers situated on important corner site of Parliament Square and High Street and incorporating segmental arch leading to Old Fishmarket Close. 5 bay section to N (High Street) converted into flats with commercial premises to ground. District Courts and cells to S, entered from Parliament Square.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: ashlar, channelled rustication to ground, coursed rubble to rear. Base course, impost course, band courses, dentilled cornice to 3rd storey. Recessed round-arched window openings to ground and top storey, those to ground with pointed voussoirs. Upper storey windows with moulded architraves, consoled cornices and some blind balustered balconies to 1st storey. Some windows to rear with bar grilles. Slender cast-iron column to canted corner to 1st and 2nd storey at Old Fishmarket Close.

W (Parliament Square) elevation with slightly advanced 5 bays to left with central Doric-columned entrance porch with glass and timber entrance door with round-arch fanlight and narrow side lights. 3-bays to right with central timber and glass entrance door with plate glass side lights and flanking bi-partite windows with stone mullions.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Coped gable and ridge stacks. Grey slates. Piended roof with glass cupola

BOUNDARY WALL AND RAILINGS: to W. Low, stone wall surmounted by decorative iron railings.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Section converted into flats retains wide, open-well stair. Some decorative cornicing and working timber shutters.

District Courts: one court with timber panelling, seats and bench, with carved timber canopy over judge's seat.

Statement of Special Interest

A Group with Nos 2-11 Parliament Square, Advocates' Library, Signet Library, Parliament Hall, Lothian Chambers, St Giles High Kirk, Charles II Statue, City Chambers, Alexander and Bucephalus Statue, Queensberry Memorial and the Market Cross.

This is an extremely fine, little externally altered, Classical corner building situated in a prominent and key site between Parliament Square and the High Street. It was designed to assume a continuation of the Classical façade design of 2-11 Parliament Square (see separate listing) and with it forms one of the best examples in the country of an unaltered stretch of mid 19th century Classical architecture. The building is distinguished by its high quality Classical detailing, notably the Doric-columned porch and the architrave features to the windows. To the rear, the juxtaposition of the height of the building and the narrowness of Old Fishmarket Close adds significantly to the character of Edinburgh Old Town.

The building was built as the Police Chambers for the Edinburgh Police. In 2000, the North section of the building was divided into flats and the South section remains as the District Courts.

William Nixon (c1810-1848) came from Dublin to the Office of Works in Edinburgh in 1840. His work thereafter was mainly associated with maintenance in the law courts and various cathedrals with some newly designed buildings. His work is concentrated predominantly in the East Coast, especially St Andrews.

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-8.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1849-53). John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p186.

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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Printed: 02/07/2022 22:09