Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

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

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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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: 21/11/2018 21:02