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 24953 73981
324953, 673981


1793. Symmetrical 3-storey basement and attic, 11-bay classical palace-fronted former pair of houses with flats above. Polished cream sandstone ashlar. Rock-faced basement; V-jointed rustication at ground; cill course at 1st floor and band course above; eaves cornice and blocking course. Central 3 bays slightly advanced at ground (arched doorway at centre with 9-panel door), supporting giant fluted Corinthian pilasters and pediment with oculus; 1st floor windows with blind balustrading to aprons. Flanking bays with 4-panelled doors and rectangular plate glass fanlights; outer bays united as pair of bows. Piend-roofed dormers; tripartite pair to right; dissimilar pair, canted and bipartite, to left.

Timber sash and case 12-pane windows. Ashlar coped skews; rendered stacks (rebuilt stone to S); grey slates.

INTERIOR: united as single office, with alterations to suit; large central corridor opened up at ground and 1st floors. No 39 with dog-leg stair on axis with entrance; alternate decorative cast-iron banisters; tripartite window with fluted pilasters and Gothic glazing; front room with carved timber chimneypiece with Gothic cluster columns, black marbling and marble slips; bow-ended rear room with fluted Ionic columns to chimneypiece. At 1st floor, 3 ceiling roses to stair, and tray rest; front and rear rooms formerly en suite with early 19th century veined black marble chimneypieces and pilastered interconnecting double doors (now shelved as bookcases); plain green marble chimneypiece to small front room. No 43 similar; stair extended to 2nd floor with matching banisters, no bow end at rear (tripartite windows); small single storey and basement extension to rear. At ground, front room with panelled dado, black slate chimneypiece; rear room with painted carved chimneypiece, frieze fluted with urns. At 1st floor, front room with very fine carved white marble chimneypiece; small front room with chimneypiece with fluted pilasters and gesso enrichments. At 2nd floor back to back top lit stairs with quarter landings to attics; that to N with later barley twist banisters; slapping through below upper flight. Principal front room of N flat with stop-fluted Corinthian screen, panelled dado, painted black slate chimneypiece and double doors to rear room with 19th century grey marble chimneypiece; range recess still evident in former kitchen at rear. S flat plainer with panelled dados; carved chimneypiece with gesso enrichments to small front room. Full storey to attics at rear.

Statement of Special Interest

Built by Robert Wright and James McKain, this is the finest surviving unified group in the first New Town, with the exception of Charlotte Square. Robert Adam's South Bridge, University and Charlotte Square designs could all have inspired this block. No39 was the home of Sir Walter Scott from 1802 until 1826. Note the fine Dining Room at the front of the N flat. Part of the original fabric of Edinburgh's New Town, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain.



RCAHMS INVENTORY no138. MacRae Her 38. A J Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) p92. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) p292.

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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