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

University of Edinburgh, Minto House, 18, 20 and 22 Chambers Street, Including Railings, EdinburghLB27997

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25820 73390
325820, 673390


R Thornton Sheills, 1876-8 (to E) and Peter L Henderson, 1878 (to W). University department comprising 2 previously separate buildings, currently internally linked (2007) and incorporating maltings section of former brewery to NW.

To W (Nos 18 and 20): 2-storey, basement and mansard attic, 6-bay French Renaissance style former medical school with slightly advanced entrance bay to far right. Ashlar, channelled to ground. Band course, dentilled cornice. Recessed segmental-arched window openings to ground; deep consoled cornice at 3rd bay. Keystoned, segmental-arched window openings to 1st storey, with consoled cornices and balustraded aprons. To far right, Corinthian columns support projecting segmental-headed porch with recessed 2-leaf timber panelled entrance door. Central pedimented window above with flanking pilasters.

4-storey 1971 link to former maltings to NW. 4-storey, rectangular-plan former maltings building with pyramidal-roofed former kiln to E. Snecked, coursed, rubble. Small, square window openings.

To E (No 22): 2-storey and basement, symmetrical 3-bay Italian Romanesque former Free Church in highly decorative style with 3-storey and attic French pavilion roofed entrance tower to right. Ashlar, with channelled pilasters to ground. String course, cornice, arcaded corbel course, blocking course. 2- and 3-light round-arched windows with Corinthian-columned mullions, recessed in moulded segmental arches, with blind roundels to tympana. Pediment to centre. Entrance tower to right with wide round-arched doorway with Corinthian colonettes.

Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows to W; vertical, multi-pane, non-traditional glazing to E. Grey slates. Decorative brattishing to square-plan roofs above entrance bays.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Largely altered, but with some original features. Open-well staircase with timber barley-sugar twist balusters and timber handrail and newels. Timber and glass cupola. One room to No 22 with coved ceiling supported by cast-iron Corinthian columns. Some open timbers to former maltings.

RAILINGS: to Chambers Street. Spear-headed cast-iron railings with integral gate.

Statement of Special Interest

These two stylistically different buildings are an important part of the streetscape of Chambers Street. They are now linked and form the Departments of Architecture and History of Art at the University of Edinburgh (2007). The building is an important part of the University's estate and is a significant element in the character of this part of the city.

The former church at No 22 was designed by Robert Thornton Sheills and is an especially well-detailed building with a Lombardic-influenced design which sets it apart from the more common Classical designed buildings of Edinburgh. The arcaded corbel course and the Corinthian mullions give it a particularly decorative street elevation. It was originally built as the Free Tron Church.

Robert Thornton Sheills (1833-1902) was an Edinburgh architect, apprenticed to the renowned David Bryce. He designed mainly private houses and other Free Churches in the Edinburgh area and was influenced by Italian style, especially latterly by the Lombardic tradition, as here.

Minto House, at Nos 18 and 20, was designed by Peter Henderson and was built as the extra-mural medical department for women. It is depicted on the 1893 Ordnance Survey Map as the Edinburgh School of Medicine.

Peter Henderson (1848-1912) was an Edinburgh based architect who was also an engineer. His output included a number of breweries in the area, as well as other, mostly public buildings.

The maltings to the rear was originally part of the Argyll Brewery site. It was converted for University use in 1972 by Ian Lindsay & Partners.

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

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as '18, 20 and 22 Chambers Street, University of Edinburgh, Minto House, including railings, (department of Architecture and History of Art)'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 74101

1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1849-56).

Bartholomew's Large Plan of Edinburgh and Leith, 1891.

Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p223.

Dictionary of Scottish Architects (accessed 09-08-07).

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


South Elevation, University of Edinburgh, Minto House, 18, 20 and 22 Chambers Street, Including Railings, Edinburgh

Printed: 28/01/2022 20:01