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
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26075 73667
326075, 673667


Early 18th century. 5-storey, former tenement (No 40) situated between Hyndford's Close and South Gray's Close and incorporated into late 20th century residential block fronting High Street. Rubble with sandstone dressings to E and W elevations; raised cills. Chamferred projecting stair tower to E elevation with moulded doorway and L-plan forestair. Shouldered wallhead attic gable with broad stack at apex to W elevation with regular fenestration. No 40 linked at 1st floor by means of glazed bridge walkway (1986) over South Gray's Close to altered 18th century 3-storey former tenement (No 42) also encased behind later additions to High Street; openings to E and W elevations blocked. Both buildings currently occupied by the Museum of Childhood.

12-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows at No 40 (South Gray's and Hyndford's Close elevations). Grey slate. Broad end stacks. Clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: extensively remodelled in 1957 and again in 1982 to accommodate Museum of Childhood. Stone turn-pike stair rising to all floors at NE corner of No 40. Restored plaster ceiling to 1st floor at No 42; wide shallow-vaulted cellar.

Statement of Special Interest

Now mostly obscured by later additions to High Street, No 40 reveals its 18th century form on its side elevations. It is surviving fabric of a type of structure which would have been common in the High Street in the 18th century. Of particularly note are the doorway and forestair to Hyndford's Close and the central wallhead gable elevation to South Gray's Close. The Museum of Childhood occupied No 40 in 1957 when the collection became too large to remain at Lady Stair's House Museum. It was subsequently extended into No 42 in 1982. No 42 was a theatre or music hall around 1760 at which time the plasterwork ceiling (restored-1982) was added at first floor level. Henry and Thomas Erskine, the grandchildren of Lord Cardross, one of the most distinguished patriots of the 17th century, were both born at No 40.

The High Street is located at the heart of the Old Town and has World Heritage Site status. Historically the central focus of public, civic and commercial life within the city, the High Street holds many of Edinburgh's most distinguished buildings including St Giles Kirk and Parliament Hall (see separate listings). Its special architectural and historic interest as one of Edinburgh's primary medieval thoroughfares is unparalleled.

Change of Category from B to C(S). List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey (2007/08). Prior to resurvey, No 40 was listed as '32-38 High Street'. Following alterations to the numbering on this section of the High Street, the 3-storey tenement (No 42 - previously listed as 40-42 High Street) has been merged with this listing, due to the single occupancy by the Museum of Childhood and associated linking walkway.



John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p220; Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (accessed 10.05.2007)

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: 08/12/2021 23:05