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.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25390 74188
325390, 674188


Thomas Hamilton, 1843-5; library block added and hall extended by

David Bryce, 1864; New Library by David and John Bryce, 1876-7; conference centre and lecture theatre to rear by Baron Bercott Associates, 1984 principal rooms refurbished by Ben Tindall, 1994.

Monumental neo-classical college building set slightly forward from terraced street, with Tower-of-the-Winds centrepiece; 2-storey in place of standard 3, with further blind attic, 3 broad bays. Symmetrical facade of polished cream sandstone ashlar (cleaned); lugged moulded architraves. Base course; dentilled cornice above ground with blocking/cill course to 1st floor; anthemion and palmette frieze above 2nd floor; heavy overhanging modillioned cornice with small lion masks and blocking course. At centre ground, corniced tetrastyle portico on plinth; fluted columns with stylised acanthus and lotus leaf capitals; full entablature continuing line of cornice; steps rise through plinth between displaced central columns to 2-leaf bronzed panelled doors with large square etched glass fanlight with College crest set in diamond panel; to either side plain pilasters flank Physicians? emblem of staff encircled by snake; blocking course supports pair of statues (Aesculapius and Hippocrates) and central distyle portico with fluted Corinthian columns and modillioned pediment surmounted by statue of Hygeia, Goddess of Health. Flanking windows at ground with scrolled consoles and cornices; at 1st floor with consoled cornices. Attic with pair of framed panels bearing griffons.

Timber casement windows, 6- and 8-pane. Piended roofs with grey slates and some flat copper roofing; mutual stacks, rubble and rendered. Cast-iron downpipes with decorative rainwaterheads.

INTERIOR: Lobby flanked by niches with plaster statues, Minton pavement bearing crest, cast-iron lamps. Steps to oak 2-leaf etched glass doors to Staircase Hall; bordered grey marble pavement; stone Imperial stair with return flights and landing supported on 4 fluted columns with stylised partly gilt acanthus capitals (walls with corresponding pilasters); bronzed 10-panel doors with marbled corniced architraves; compartmentalised ceiling with modillioned cornices. At front, to E Editor?s Room, to W Vice-President?s (former President?s) Room, with oak and walnut bookcases respectively; (by William Trotter & Co) and black slate chimneypieces; latter with overmantel and cornice. Stair flanked by cylindrical pedestals bearing bronze urns and putti (added 1854), with gilded scrolling cast-iron balustrade incorporating crests at landings; spectacular wrought-iron lamps; oak hand rails, new carpet (based on original) with brass stair rods; stair ceiling with engraved Indian red glass (by Chance Brothers). At 1st landing 2-leaf door with consoled pediment to Hall, flanked by niches with marble busts on pedestals; mace to right. Whole painted in faux ashlar (originally marbled). Top-lit Hall in form of Roman basilica with attic storey, glazed cove (glass engraved by David Smith) and elaborate compartmented ceiling with gilded vine leaves; modern chandelier at centre; Sienna marbled timber columns with gilded Corinthian capitals; now 7 bays deep by 5 bays wide, formerly only 3 bays deep, Bryce repeating Hamilton?s scheme and adding his own ceiling (modelled by James Anderson); full Greek entablature, recently marbled; attic with caryatids flanking portrait reliefs of great physicians (originals by Lazzaroni, additions by George McCallum and Brucciani); coffered aisles with decorative ceiling panels; dado; cast-iron radiator covers with marble tops supporting busts; side and far walls with similar bookcases, veined black marble chimneypieces to sides; far end with dais and ceremonial chairs. E door at 1st landing to curved panelled corridor leading to New Library, and with later access to No 8. Main landing with doorway echoing that to Hall to Old Library with Reading Room off, with compartmented ceilings, veined grey marble chimneypieces and original furniture. Spiral stair to upper floor with model of Craig?s College on mezzanine level; further top-lit Upper Library with gallery and brass and glass balustrade (bookcases by J Inch Morrison). New Library built over garden of No 8, and incorporating on outer N wall carved stone roundel from old College; parquet floor; 5 bays of projecting stall bookcases (Whytock and Reid) supporting gallery with cast-iron balustrade; spiral stairs at opposite corners; veined black marble chimneypieces to end walls; modillioned cornice and segmental ceiling with 8 linked coffers containing engraved glass, remaining panels filled with scrolled foliate plasterwork (by James Annan); original furniture and brass chandeliers remain, decorative scheme restored 1994. Basements with kitchen (cast-iron columns) below Hall, service rooms and extensive book storage; also flat (No 10). Access from Hall to modern conference facilities with steeply raked horseshoe lecture theatre to rear of Nos 11-13 (see separate listing).

FRONT WALL AND LAMP STANDARDS: pair of coped ashlar walls to front (replacing standard Queen Street railings) with base course; terminated by pedestals with cast-iron lamps (Shotts Foundry) surmounted by tiny gilded cocks and cut-glass bowls (Osler of Birmingham).

Statement of Special Interest

Initially built and furnished at a cost of almost ?10,000, including the purchase of previous 4-bay house and upper flat standing on the site, and furnishings. External statuary by A Handyside Ritchie. Now linked to No 8 and Nos 11-12 (see separate listing); the main door flat at No 13 is in separate ownership. The new College was built to replace James Craig?s first college in George Street (see model), which the Physicians sold to the Commercial Bank (who then promptly demolished it) for ?30,000. Some furniture from this building still survives in the new College.



MacRae Her p39. ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS 11th October 1845, vII p232. SCOTTISH FIELD Feb 1962. COUNTRY LIFE 1st Jan 1925. SCOTSMAN

22 February 1851, 30th Nov 1955. A J Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) pp279-80. Rupert Gunnis DICTIONARY OF BRITISH SCULPTORS 1660-1851 New edition p322. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) p288-9. J Rock THOMAS HAMILTON ARCHITECT 1784-1858 (1984) pp62-65. Charles McKean EDINBURGH RIAS Guide (1992) p111. Richardson MONUMENTAL CLASSIC ARCHITECTURE IN GREAT BRITAIN p73. ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS Guide Book (1980). WS Craig HISTORY OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS (1976). Fiona Sinclair SCOTSTYLE: 150 YEARS OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1984) pp18-19. Valerie Fiddes and Alistair Rowan MR DAVID BRYCE 1803-1876 (1976) p97. M J Rowe HISTORY OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS (to be published). THE REDECORATION CONTRACT pamphlet 1994. Colour perspective of New Library; RIAS Collection, NMRS. NMRS Drawings A74745-7; EDD/277/1-17. Dean of Guild 11th April 1844; 16 March, 6th April 1865; 15th April 1876. College Account Books.

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.

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