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 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

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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Printed: 21/05/2024 14:36