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


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24127 73904
324127, 673904


Early 17th century merchant's house; alterations by Sir Basil Spence, 1946. 3 storeys, with additional storey to riverside elevation (N); set on ground rising to SW with adjoing lower single storey house to W (Hawthornbank Lane). Originally L-plan with circular-plan stair tower in re-entrant angle to S. Adjoining block lower block to W (single storey to Hawthornbank Lane) recessed to river elevation; forming enclosed courtyard. Coursed random rubble with long and short quoins. Some ashlar lintels, cills and rybats to surrounds throughout. Later (1946) large 2-storey transomed and mullioned studio window to river elevation at adjoining W block.

Predominantly 8-pane in timber sash and case windows, 6-pane timber casement windows, small paned French windows to W elevation. Pitched roof; pantiles; ashlar skews. Coped gable and wallhead stacks with modern clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

A good survival of a 17th century merchant's house, with complementary later additions by Sir Basil Spence. The building occupies a prominent corner site by the Dean Village Bridge and appears relatively unaltered from its original 17th century form from the street, retaining the small windows and roof profile. Merchant's houses were once common in this part of Edinburgh, which from the 17th century onwards was characterised by trade and industry.

The later alterations by Spence are imaginative and were amongst the first projects he undertook after the Second World War. Alterations to the exterior are concentrated on the N elevation to maximise the views of the river, including French windows with balconies. The house was altered for Alexander Zyw, a Polish artist and the large 2-storey glazed windows are for a double height studio (facing N). The contemporary success of design meant the building was featured in the 1949 Royal Scottish Academy's exhibition.

(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1893 -94); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 394; A Borthwick, transcript of an article on Bell's Brae House (1953); B Edwards, Basil Spence 1907-1976 (1995) p.41; Page of practice portfolio NMRS, Sir Basil Spence Archive, DP028493. Photographs from 1946 RCAHMS SGF1940/5/1/1 -16.

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


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