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


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Group Category Details
100000020 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26033 73649
326033, 673649


Robert Morham (adapting a design by David Cousin and John Lessels - see Notes). 1871-3. 4-storey, 2 bay, retail and residential tenement with unusual double-height, twin-gabled attic situated on sloping ground and forming part of a unified run on E side of Blackfriars Street. Squared and snecked rubble with sandstone ashlar dressings. Chamfered, long and short window margins. Shop to ground with 5-bay, shallow segmental-arched openings; timber door to far left bay. Heavy moulded attic cill course.

4-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Graded, grey Scottish slate. Broad coped ashlar stacks; clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

Nos 5-9 Blackfriars Street is a good example of early City Improvement Act construction and integrated tenement design. The the tall, twin-gabled attic is an interpretation of the 17th century example at Gladstone's Land in Edinburgh's Lawnmarket. The irregular composition at attic level reflects the diversified roof-lines of the Canongate and Old Town in general and provides streetscape interest.

John Lessels (1809-1883), who came from a family of successful Edinburgh builder-architects, was appointed joint architect to the City Improvement Trust in 1866 along with David Cousin, the City Architect. In response to the Improvement Act of 1867, they laid out plans for St Mary Street, Blackfriars Street, Jeffrey Street and Chambers Street. The architecture 'reflected Cousin's transition from pure Italian Renaissance to a mid Victorian freestyle also evident in his later bank-houses' (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). The tenement blocks running from No 1 to No 29 Blackfriars Street were designed by David Cousin with John Lessels but not carried out. The design of Nos 5-9 was adapted by Robert Morham, the former principle assistant to Cousin. Morham was also responsible for the former Blackfriars United Presbyterian Church at Nos 17-2 Blackfriars Street (see separate listing). David Clunas, famed for his early experiments with mass-concrete construction, adapted the remaining blocks (see separate listings), following Cousin and Lessels design.

Formerly known as Blackfriars Wynd, the E side was demolished in 1867 under the Improvement Act, the roadway widened and subsequently renamed Blackfriars Street as part of the first wave of sanitary improvements within the Old Town. The 1867 Edinburgh Improvement Act involved the large-scale clearance, on health grounds, of 34 selected areas of the Old Town. The new buildings were intended for workers and artisans.

Part of B-Group comprising 1-67 (Odd Nos) Blackfriars Street (see separate listings). Category changed from C(S) to B (1992). List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward Resurvey (2007/08).



John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p220; E.Patricia Dennison, Holyrood and Canongate - A Thousand Years of History, (2005) p.150; Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (accessed 10.05.2007)

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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