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, Geography Department (Old Infirmary), Including Railings and Lamp Standards, 1 Drummond Street, EdinburghLB28000

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26165 73430
326165, 673430


David Bryce, 1848-53, with reconstructed 1905-7 North wing, Rowand Anderson & Balfour Paul. Near symmetrical, 2-storey, mezzanine, basement and attic, 13-bay, T-plan, Italian Renaissance former hospital, (currently academic department, 2007) with lower projecting wing to W and incorporating round-arched carriage pend in wing to N. Situated on sloping ground with 5-storeys to rear (N). Squared and snecked, droved sandstone with raised ashlar margins. Band courses, cornice, raised long and short quoins. Pedimented wallhead dormers with flanking scrolls. Centrally placed to rear balustraded square-plan tower.

ENTRANCE ELEVATION TO S: slightly advanced central 3-bays and outer 2-bay sections. Central platt oversailing basement leads to pedimented Doric doorpiece with 2-leaf glass and timber entrance door with 3-light fanlight above. Pedimented and Doric pilastered armorial panel to wallhead supported by scrolls with ball finials and metal weathervane at apex.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Largely altered to provide office accommodation, but with some fine features. Some timber panelling to entrance hall. Wide open-well stone staircase with metal balusters. Small round-arched niche washbasins to each floor. Large lecture theatre with timber seating. Timber panelled library with mezzanine and timber fire surrounds. 1st storey linking corridor to Archaeology Department at N (see separate listing).

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Mixture of flat, gable and piended roofs. Grey slates. Coped gable and wallhead stacks. Cast iron rainwater goods, with some decorative hoppers.

RAILINGS: to S. Row of spear-headed railings with pair of tall, decorative lamp standards to entrance platt.

Statement of Special Interest

This is an imposing, well-detailed and decorative former surgical hospital designed by the renowned architect David Bryce and with a distinctive pedimented entrance bay. Set back from the street, the building forms a critical part of the complex of educational buildings in this area. Now owned by the University of Edinburgh, this area of the city was the heart of the Edinburgh medical and surgical establishment in the 18th and 19th centuries.

This building was designed as a much needed extension to the existing Surgical Hospital, which was in the adjacent building now used as the Archaeology Department of the University of Edinburgh (see separate listing). The two buildings were connected by waiting rooms and this building had accommodation for 147 patients. After the opening of the new Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place, also designed by Bryce (see separate listing) in 1879, this building was used until 1903 as the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases. The University bought the building in 1904 and, after refurbishment, which included the reconstruction of the North wing by Rowand Anderson, it opened in 1906 as the Department of Natural Philosophy. Anderson separated the two buildings and constructed a carriage pend. It is currently the Department of Geography for the University of Edinburgh (2007).

David Bryce (1803-1876) was one of the most renowned architects in Scotland in the 19th century. His practice was based in Edinburgh and many of his commissions were country houses. He also designed signature buildings in Edinburgh including Fettes College (1852) and the remodelling of the Bank of Scotland Headquarters on the Mound (1854).

Sir Rowand Anderson (1834-1921) was an eminent and renowned Scottish architect whose practice was involved with many of the most prestigious public and private buildings in Scotland. His work includes the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute (see separate listings). References from previous list description. Builder, May 27 1876 and October 19th, 1907. ASPD. Dean of Guild.

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

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as 'Drummond Street, University of Edinburgh, Geography Department, (Former Surgical Hospital), including railings and lamp standards'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 118845

1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1849-53).

A Logan Turner, Story of Great Hospital, 1979 p193.

John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p186.

Edinburgh University website (accessed 25-07-07).

Dictionary of Scottish Architects (access 27-07-07).

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


Southeast elevation, University of Edinburgh, Geography Department (Old Infirmary), Including Railings and Lamp Standards, 1 Drummond Street, Edinburgh
Southwest elevation, University of Edinburgh, Geography Department (Old Infirmary), Including Railings and Lamp Standards, 1 Drummond Street, Edinburgh

Printed: 28/11/2022 19:22