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 26283 74718
326283, 674718


George Beattie and Sons, 1882. Classical, symmetrical, 4-storey, 5-bay front elevation with modern frontage to ground floor; large late 19th and 20th century extensions to rear. Channelled rustication to 1st floor; polished ashlar to upper floors; predominantly brick with stone dressings to rear. Regular fenestration.

NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: modern doors in recessed openings to 1st and 3rd bays from left to ground floor. Dividing band between ground and first floor; moulded cill course to 1st floor; dentilled cornice dividing 1st and 2nd floor; moulded cill course to 2nd floor; corbelled moulded cill course to 3rd floor; broken eaves band; eaves cornice; balustraded parapet. To outer left and right to 1st floor, panelled pilasters with segmental pediments crowned by acroters. To 1st floor, recessed, pilastered window surrounds with rosettes to outer left and right to lintels; architraved, corniced windows to 2nd floor, architraved windows to 3rd floor.

TO REAR: large conglomeration of various additions of varying ages; to NE, brick elevation with blocked segmental openings to 1st floor, buttresses defining bays and corbel table to eaves.

GLAZING etc: plate glass to ground floor; predominantly 4-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to upper floors; plate glass in out -of -character timber 'tilt and turn' windows to 1st, 2nd and 3rd bays from left to 1st floor and 4th and 5th bays from left to 3rd floor. Pitched roof (some flat-roofed sections to rear); grey slates. 2 corniced ashlar wallhead stacks flanking central bay to principal elevation; 1 corniced ashlar ridge stack to outer left; 1 corniced ashlar ridge stack to outer right; circular cans to all stacks.

Statement of Special Interest

A good example of late 19th century classical architecture, and of local historical significance due to its original and subsequent functions. Currently used by The School of Drama and Creative Industries of Queen Margaret University College. Some of the original interior features, including original classrooms, remain within.

40-44 Elm Row is situated on land which was have formed part of the Eastern New Town, laid out and designed by W. H Playfair in the early 19th century. The scheme would have been the largest and most ambitious New Town in Edinburgh, but despite an encouraging beginning the area quickly waned in popularity, mainly due to competition from new schemes in the increasingly fashionable West End. Resultantly, only the southern portion of Elm Row was built according to Playfair's designs. The land to north became occupied by industrial buildings, including a marble works which was situated approximately on the site of 40-44 Elm Row.

In 1882, the site was redeveloped by William Williams, a veterinary surgeon. He asked Beattie and Sons to draw up designs for a large veterinary school, to be called the New Veterinary College, of which he was to be the proprietor. Beattie produced two designs for the Elm Row elevation of the college; the scheme chosen shows two pedimented doorpieces to ground floor, with a horse sculpture to centre. However, because the original ground floor was considerably altered in the later 20th century, it is uncertain how closely the original building followed Beattie's plan at ground floor level. The section of the building fronting onto Elm Row accommodated a shop, with large saloon behind, to the S side of a near-central pend. To the right of the pend were professors' rooms and offices; to the upper floors, residential quarters were provided. Concealed behind the Elm Row elevation was a large courtyard around which were ranged 2-storey buildings incorporating stalls, a byre, forge, harness room, coach house and drug room to ground floor. To 1st floor, the accommodation included laboratories, dissecting room, reading and class rooms, lecture hall and a museum and bone room.

Following Williams' death in 1899, the College changed hands and was sold in 1905, when it seems to have become billiard halls.

In 1909, 40-44 Elm Row became the Bellvue Skating Rink, which featured a suspended bandstand hanging from the roof. It was at this point that the open courtyard to the rear was roofed, to increase the size of the building. The billiard rooms were retained. However, just over a year later, in 1910, the rink area was converted to a 'Cinematograph Theatre' by a Ralph Pringle, and was for some time known as Pringle's Theatre. By 1921, the theatre and billard rooms were owned by Elm Row Palace Edin. (1914) Ltd., a company registered in Nottingham. In 1945, the building was obtained by the Church of Scotland who converted the billiard rooms to a community centre but retained the theatre, calling it the 'Studio Theatre'. By 1963, however, the theatre was referred to as the Gateway Theatre. In 1969 the Church of Scotland sold the theatre area (although it retained the front tenement and community centre rooms) to Scottish Television Ltd, who converted the area to a television studio. Queen Margaret University College took over the building in 1988 and the building was adapted to become an International Drama Centre by Law Dunbar-Naismith Architects.

References and notes updated as part of the Cinemas Thematic Study 2007-08.



OS Map, 1896, 1909, 1919-20. Edinburgh City Archives, Dean of Guild, 19 October 1882, 12 July 1909, 27 October 1910, 18 May 1911, 14 April 1921, 22 February 1935, 7 June 1935, 3 August 1945, 31 May 1963, 6 January 1969. G. Baird, EDINBURGH THEATRES, CINEMAS AND CIRCUSES, (1964). Cinema Theatre Association,, (2008).

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.

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