Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25709 73112
325709, 673112


George Smith, 1848. Pair of tall octagonal-plan commemorative gatepiers marking the N entrance to Middle Meadow Walk. Plain octagonal plinths with slender shouldered panels above and corniced smooth capital with paired rampant unicorns, with gilded lances. E unicorn decorated with Edinburgh's coat of arms and the motto "nemo me impune lacessit". W unicorn with rampant lion and motto "nisi dominus frustra". Smooth ashlar.

Statement of Special Interest

A fine example of mid 19th century civic street architecture, ceremoniously marking the entrance to the Meadows Park from the N and making a strong contribution to the streetscape of the area.

In the 17th century the Meadows was occupied by the South or Burgh Loch which provided the town with water for drinking, washing and brewing. In the early 18th century the area was drained and a pleasure ground established with perimeter paths, hedges, lime avenues, drainage canals and a summerhouse. An Act of Parliament of 1827, which protected the Meadows from being built upon, predated the national movement in the 1830s to create parks for the improvement of public health in the overcrowded conditions of rapidly expanding towns. The erection of this grand entrance to the Meadows in the mid 19th century coincided with the granting of full public access and the creation of a number of walks crossing the park, and is a fine example of the role of public subscription in the development of such places as a focus of civic pride.

The gatepiers were built by public subscription in the 1840s but were not completed as planned due to insufficient funds. The original design planned four pillars with the two central ones to be surmounted by unicorns. When the required funds were not fully raised, only the central pillars were built and without the planned unicorns. In 1849, George Smith, (1793-1877) architect and designer of the pillars appealed to Edinburgh Town Council to help finance the completion of the gatepiers. The Council agreed to pay Mr Handyside Ritchie, sculptor, £55 for the erection of the unicorns on top of the two pillars. The unicorns are carved from Binny freestone.

George Smith was appointed architect to the Edinburgh Improvement Commissioners in 1834. He carried out several commissions in the immediate area such as on George IV Bridge and West Bow.

(List description updated at re-survey 2011-12.)


Bibliography The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (accessed 2011).

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 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.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to LAURISTON PLACE, MIDDLE MEADOW WALK GATEPIERS

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 22/04/2019 19:19