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 26519 74008
326519, 674008


Thomas Hamilton, 1830. Outstanding Greek Revival circular, fluted Corinthian peripteral temple with 2-stage cylindrical cella and recessed attic storey, surmounted on square-plan ground-storey plinth with corner pedestals. Central carved finial with 3 supporting griffons. Ashlar sandstone, shallow channelled to ground. Base course, modillioned cornice with antefixae and lion heads to temple. Attic storey with wreath reliefs, dentilled cornice and antefixae.

Rectangular window openings to 1st stage of cella, now mostly blocked (2007) with lyre reliefs above. Steps to moulded door surround with cornice to S with 3-panel timber entrance door. N elevation with inscription '1759 ROBERT BURNS 1796'.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Internal ring of Doric columns. Round-arched niche to N wall. Tesserae tiled floor.

BOUNDARY WALL AND RAILINGS: semi-circular rubble wall to S. Cast-iron spearheaded railings to N, W and E with curved iron supports and gate to N.

Statement of Special Interest

The Burns Monument is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture, built by the renowned architect Thomas Hamilton. It is situated on a prominent position on the slopes of Regent Road and overlooks the city to the South. Based on a version of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, it is a well-proportioned and exceptionally well-detailed structure with finely carved features.

The idea of erecting a monument to Burns was first proposed by Mr John Forbes Mitchell at Bombay in 1812, but was not taken seriously in Britain until 1819. In 1824 a statue of Burns was commissioned and John Flaxman produced a life size statue in marble (now housed at the National Portrait Gallery). This building was designed to house the statue, as the statue only used half the amount of funds raised. Hamilton was appointed as architect as he had already designed the Burns Monument at Alloway (see separate listing) and he did not charge for the design. The foundation stone of the monument was laid on 1831 and was handed over to the City of Edinburgh in 1839.

The Greek Revival Movement was especially fashionable in 1820s and 30s Britain and Edinburgh was at the forefront of this revival. Thomas Hamilton (1784-1858) was one of its leading architects. The movement reached its zenith in Edinburgh with buildings such as Hamilton's Royal High School and Playfair's Surgeon's Hall (see separate listings).

The Choregic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens was built in 334 B.C. to commemorate a win in a choral festival. One of the first Greek monuments to be built according to the Corinthian Order, it became an icon in the Greek Revival Movement and it was used as a template for other Greek Revival buildings, but most particularly in monuments, as here and at the Burns Monument in Alloway.

References from previous list description: APSD; Monumental Classic Architecture in Great Britain ( Richardson) p 72.

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1849-53). E J MacRae, The Heritage of Greater Edinburgh, 1947 p41. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984 p435. H Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 1995. Leaflet and other information courtesy of Edinburgh City Council.

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.

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Printed: 17/11/2018 15:34