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 26031 73697
326031, 673697


James Smith of Whitehill, circa 1700, and Robert Paterson, 1862. Symmetrical 4-storey 5-bay Scots Baronial tenement replacing front range of partially collapsed tenement by James Smith (see Notes). Central pend to Paisley Close; dividing stair to outer left (leads to 107 High Street, listed separately). Crowstepped wallhead gable with corbelled apex stack; canted 1st floor oriel. Squared and snecked stugged sandstone (painted ground and 1st floors); polished dressings. 6-storey tenement to rear is surviving part of Smith's tenement, with later alterations. Random rubble; raised ashlar margins; long and short quoins.

S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: flanking 3-bay shopfronts at ground (those at right with original shouldered openings) with continuous cornice. Stair to outer left within rope-moulded round-arched surround, with decorative cast-iron hand-rail and balustrade. Keystone of round-arched pend to Paisley Close carved with portrait head of a boy; inscribed scroll (see Notes); foliate carving on corbelling of oriel above, with rope-moulded cill and machicolated, crenellated parapet. Flanking windows in 1-2 2-1 formation. Moulded stepped string course above 2nd floor windows. Upper floors regularly fenestrated with stop-chamfered, roll-moulded surrounds

N (REAR) ELEVATION: 4-storey and basement to small courtyard; irregular fenestration; small corbelled bowed oriel with pointed-arched window. Random coursed rubble; ashlar margins and raised cills; stone relieving arches to lower windows.

BLOCK TO REAR: 6 storeys including basement but reduced in height. 3 evenly-spaced bays to E elevation; 2 bays to W (small paired stair windows to each floor plus larger single window); rebuilt forestair in left bay; timber panelled door to rear at forestair (17th century in style only); small adjoining slated outbuilding, 1977; shop at ground entered below blocked (late 18th/early 19th century slapping) wide segmental-arch. N elevation with several irregularly spaced blocked openings; evidence of 2 sections or building phases.

Plate glass windows to shops; later leaded glazing with pointed-arched astragals to 1st floor; replacement timber sash and case windows to 2nd and 3rd floors above in keeping with originals (2-pane upper sashes, 4-pane lower); 12-pane replacement timber sash and case glazing to rear. Pitched grey slate roofs; coped wallhead and end stacks; circular clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: part seen 2002. 1st floor of Paterson's tenement: recessed windows with painted timber panelling; Baronial-style chimneypiece (inscribed 'UBI BENE IBI DATRIA'). Smith's block has scale and platt stone close stair with half-columns; treads re-levelled in concrete and linoleum. (Stairs to attic may still retain original worn stone steps with bottle nosings.)

Statement of Special Interest

Paisley Close was known as Smith's Land or Close (see map ref. above) and James Smith's tenement originally fronted the High Street. This large broad-fronted tenement was an example of the change in building forms in the Old Town. The narrow frontages of the deep and irregularly-shaped burgage plots began to be replaced, from the 1670s, by rational and monumental speculative development that in many instances obliterated the Old Town pattern (see Glendinning et al pp135-6). Mylne's Court in the Lawnmarket by Robert Mylne, from 1690, is the earliest remaining example. The front section of Smith's Land collapsed on November 10th 1861 and Paterson's replacement building, with the predecessor of 107-119 High Street still standing to the left, is illustrated in Grant (see above). The inscription 'Heave awa' chaps I'm no' dead yet' commemorates the (anglified) words of a boy pulled from the ruins and the portrait head carved in the keystone of the pend to Paisley Close, by John Rhind, represents the boy. Paterson's building was renovated in 1980.



Smith's Close is marked on William Edgar's City and Castle of Edinburgh map of 1742. Edinburgh City Archive, Dean of Guild plans dated 1862. Dean of Guild alteration plans dated 1864. Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) pp240-1. Home OLD HOUSES IN EDINBURGH (ND). BOOK OF THE OLD EDINBURGH CLUB Vol XII (1923) p45. RCAHMS Inventory Edinburgh No 33 (1951). Gifford, McWilliam, Walker BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH (1984) p205. Edinburgh World Heritage Trust EDINBURGH OLD TOWN STUDY RECORDS (1989). Colvin BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS 1600-1840 (1995 edition) p896. Glendinning, MacInnes, MacKechnie A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996) pp135-6.

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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