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 26510 73872
326510, 673872


1690 (renovated 1956 by J Wilson Paterson, see Notes). 2-storey and basement, L-plan crow-stepped townhouse. Random-rubble with roughly squared ashlar dressings. Chamfered long and short margins. Raised platt at SE re-entrant angle with fore-stair and boundary wall forming courtyard. Main entrance to NW angle of raised courtyard; timber studded door with 6-pane glazed light above. Further doorway to S gable and to rear (N) leading to narrow exterior passage enclosed by boundary wall. Regular arrangement of fenestration to 5-bay W elevation.

INTERIOR: extensively reconstructed during 1950s. Seen at resurvey (2007/08).

Predominantly 15-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows with horns. Coped end stacks. Cast-iron rain water goods. Gas-lamp remnant at SE angle directly above adjoining boundary wall.

Statement of Special Interest

Panmure House is a fine survival of grander 17th century domestic architecture. Its intact exterior L-plan form is notable for its regularly arranged fenestration and raised platted courtyard at re-entrant angle leading to the main entrance. Formerly the grand town house of the Earls of Panmure, it later became the home of the renowned Scottish economist Adam Smith and retains a strong association with his name. A restored 17th century stepped garden, following the line of a former 'toft' (see below), is located to the immediate W of Panmure, contributing to its setting and historic context. A metal plaque beside the main platted entrance reads 'This former town house of the Earls of Panmure and also of Adam Smith, author of 'The Wealth of Nations' who lived here 1778-90 was renovated in 1957 and presented by Roy Herbert Thomson Esq. Chairman of the 'Scotsman' publication Ltd to the Rev Ronald Selby Wright, D.D for the Canongate Boys' Club and was opened by H.R.H The Princess Royal, accompanied by his grace the Duke of Hamilton, K.T.'. Currently occupied by the Social Services Department of Edinburgh Council (2007).

The historic and architectural value of Edinburgh's Canongate area as a whole can hardly be overstated. Embodying a spirit of permanence while constantly evolving, its buildings reflect the development of Scotland's political, religious and civic life. The Canons of Holyrood Abbey were given leave by King David I to found the burgh of Canongate in 1140. Either side of the street/volcanic ridge was divided into long, narrow strips of land or 'tofts'. By the end of the 15th century all the tofts were occupied, some subdivided into 'forelands' and 'backlands' under different ownership. Fuedal superiority over Canongate ceased after 1560. The following century was a period of wide-scale rebuilding and it was during this time that most of the areas' mansions and fine townhouses were constructed, usually towards the back of the tofts, away from the squalor of the main street. The 17th century also saw the amalgamation of the narrow plots and their redevelopment as courtyards surrounded by tenements. The burgh was formally incorporated into the City in 1856. Throughout the 19th Century the Canongate's prosperity declined as large sections of the nobility and middle classes moved out of the area in favour of the grandeur and improved facilities of Edinburgh's New Town. The Improvement Act of 1867 made efforts to address this, responding early on with large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment of entire street frontages. A further Improvement Act (1893) was in part a reaction to this 'maximum intervention', responding with a programme of relatively small-scale changes within the existing street pattern. This latter approach was more consistent with Patrick Geddes' concept of 'conservative surgery'. A renowned intellectual, Geddes, who lived in the Old Town, was a pioneer of the modern conservation movement in Scotland which gathered momentum throughout the 20th century. Extensive rebuilding and infilling of sections of the Canongate's many tenements took place, most notably by E J McRae (1930s) and Robert Hurd (1950s), with some early frontages retained and others rebuilt in replica.

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



John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p215. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p30.

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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Printed: 04/10/2023 03:46