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, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Infirmary Street, EdinburghLB27999

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26151 73477
326151, 673477


Alexander Laing, 1777 with early 19th century addition to E and 1905 work by Sir Rowand Anderson. (See Notes). Symmetrical, 2-storey, 11-bay Classical former school, with later, large 2-storey extension to E (formerly university department and now offices, 2015). Ashlar, coursed sandstone to rear (E). Base course, band course, moulded cornice. Slightly advanced outer 2-bay sections. Central single-storey tetrastyle Doric portico. 5-stage square-plan ogee-roofed tower to rear (E); squared and snecked to upper 2 storeys with contrasting ashlar margins.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to entrance (W) elevation. Grey slates, piended roof.

INTERIOR: Largely altered for offices and conference use.

Statement of Special Interest

This late 18th century former school is notable for its largely externally unaltered entrance elevation and fine distinctive pedimented entrance porch. The building is in the Classical style and has the simple detailing common to Classical buildings in Edinburgh at the time. The building forms a critical part of the complex of educational buildings in the area.

Now owned by the University of Edinburgh, this part of the city was the heart of the Edinburgh medical and surgical establishment in the 18th and 19th centuries. Built in 1777 as the Royal High School, by 1820 the school was proving too small for the number of pupils. The expanding New Town in the North of Edinburgh required a High School closer to that area. When the new Royal High School (see separate listing) was built on Calton Hill in 1829 this building became redundant. One of the school's former pupils was Sir Walter Scott.

It was bought by the managers of the Royal Infirmary which was situated in the nearby Infirmary Street and converted into a Surgical Hospital in 1832. A surgical theatre was built as an extension to the East and further internal alterations were made. The conversion allowed the Infirmary itself to concentrate on medical cases.

After the opening of the new Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place (see separate listing) in 1879, this building was used until 1903 as the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases. The University of Edinburgh bought the building in 1904 and Sir Rowand Anderson refurbished the building to accommodate part of the Engineering and Science Departments and reconstructed the upper storeys of the ogee-roofed tower.

The building was formerly the Archaeology Department of the University of Edinburgh and following redevelopment circa 2011-2013 by Malcolm Fraser Architects is now the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.

Alexander Laing (died 1823) was an Edinburgh mason who worked around Scotland and was involved in the building of the South Bridge in Edinburgh (see separate listing) Sir Rowand Anderson (1834-1921) was an eminent and renowned Scottish architect whose practice is associated with many of the most prestigious public and private buildings in Scotland. His work includes Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute (see separate listings). References from previous list description: O & N Edinburgh vII p293. Dean of Guild.

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

Listed building record and statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as 'Infirmary Street, University of Edinburgh Archaeology Department'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 118777

Kincaid, A. (1784) A Plan of the City and Suburbs of Edinburgh, Edinburgh : s.n.

Colvin, H. (1995) Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840. 3rd edition. London : Yale University Press. p. 592.

Turner, A. L. (1979) Story of Great Hospital. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 1729-1929. Edinburgh: James Thin. p.181.

Gifford, J., McWilliam, C. and Walker, D. (1991) The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh. London: Penguin Books. p. 186.

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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Northeast elevation, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, snow covered foreground
Southwest elevation, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, snow covered garden and roof.

Printed: 04/10/2023 16:57