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.


Group Category Details
100000019 - (see NOTES)
Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26083 74111
326083, 674111


Later 18th century. Semi-detached house on elevated site above road; 3-bay, 2-storey and attic (single storey and attic to rear) with late 19th century single storey extension to E. Stuccoed (rubble to rear, timber and painted brick extension) with polished ashlar margins. Base course; band course dividing ground and 1st floor; eaves course. Raised long and short quoins. Regular fenestration.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: timber-panelled door with letterbox fanlight, flanked to left by window, to right by part glazed timber-panelled door. To left, single piended dormer to roof.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: smaller additional window between left and central bay.

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-bay, 2-storey elevation. Extension wing to far right.

GLAZING etc: predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; plate glass glazing to extension; 4-pane glazing in timber sash and case window to dormer. Dormer has timber fascia with grey slate haffits and roof. 3 rooflights to S elevation, 2 rooflights to N elevation. Pitched roof; graded grey slate; stone skews and skewputts. Part stuccoed, part rendered gablehead stack with octagonal cans to E gable.

GATEWAY AND GATE: forming principal access to property, set in E boundary wall, below level of house. Droved jambs with chamfered inner edges; polished lintel. Elaborate wrought iron gate incorporating the words 'ROCK HOUSE'.

BOUNDARY WALLS: to S; low random rubble wall with flat ashlar copes. To E; walls flanking steps up to house, random rubble, flat ashlar copes. Running N to S, high random rubble wall, round-headed arched over steps. To N, random rubble wall.

Statement of Special Interest

A-Group with Nos 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 13 Calton Hill.

Important as one of the few remaining examples of early tenement design outside the Old and New towns, this house stands on land feued in the 1760s to John Horn, wright, and William Pirnie, bricklayer, and was possibly built by the same.

This building is one of the last remains of the old Calton or Caldtoun Village, which formed the heart of the Barony of Calton. This was, before the development of Waterloo Place and the Regent Bridge, a community quite remote (both in social and infrastructure terms) from the City of Edinburgh proper. The Regent Bridge and Waterloo Place development resulted in the demolition of many of the old houses of Calton Burgh. In the 1970s, the remaining old village houses on the lower portion of the north side of Calton Hill were demolished.

Rock House is also of considerable interest due to its links to historical events in the development of photography. In 1843 Rock House was owned by the scientist Robert Adamson, who in the same year formed a partnership with the artist David Octavius Hill. Their initial objective was to use the newly invented calotype process of photography to record individual portraits of over 400 ministers involved in the founding of the Free Church of Scotland, an event which Hill had undertaken to record in a massive painting. However, they soon diversified, and began to photograph subjects as diverse as the literati of Edinburgh, architectural subjects and working class scenes, most famously the fishing community of Newhaven. They are widely credited with having established the use of photography as an art form rather than just a chemical process. In their short partnership of just 3 years, Hill and Adamson produced thousands of photographs, many taken in the studio they set up at Rock House. In 1848, following Adamson's untimely death, Hill took over Rock House and the studio. He continued in photography, but his work never attained the quality of that resulting from his partnership with Adamson.

Rock House continued as a photographic studio until 1945, having passed through the hands of several photographers including Francis Caird Inglis. While the original studio/workshop building is no longer extant, a later outbuilding currently (2002) stands on the site.



Appears on John Ainslie's map, c.1780. M S Irvine HISTORICAL NOTES - THE CALTON OR CALDTOUN OF EDINBURGH 1631-

1887 (Cowan Bequest, Edinburgh Room, Edinburgh Central Library). Cockburn MEMORIALS OF HIS TIME (1910 ed.) p228. THE BOOK OF THE OLD EDINBURGH CLUB 1933 pp111-12. A J Youngson


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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Printed: 22/04/2024 01:41