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 26047 73664
326047, 673664


David Cousin and John Lessels, 1869. 4-storey, 3-bay Scots Baronial tenement with shop to ground. Squared and snecked sandstone ashlar. Windows at 1st floor corniced with strapwork pediment to centre; stepped string course above. Dentiled corbel table to 4th floor; steep-gabled dormer heads breaking eaves with thistle finial at centre apex.

Gated entrance to Tendricks Wynd at ground floor left, later shop front with plate glass to right.

8-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Grey Scottish slate. Broad end stacks. Clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

No 48 and 50 High Street is a good example of early City Improvement Act construction and integrated tenement design and an important part of the streetscape. The building is part of a planned run of buildings designed by David Cousin and John Lessels which continues West to the corner and down Blackfriars Street. The use of the Scots Baronial style fits well into the surrounding streetscape, mirroring 18th century tenement design in the old town.

This particular part of the tenement run running is one of the few that was actually carried out by Cousin and Lessels in 1869. The tenements to either side were built by a number of other locally renowned architects at a slightly later date to the designs of Lessels and Cousin. John Lessels (1809-1883), who came from a family of successful Edinburgh builder-architects, was appointed joint architect to the City Improvement Trust in 1866 along with David Cousin, the City Architect. In response to the Improvement Act of 1867, they laid out plans for St Mary Street, Blackfriars Street, Jeffrey Street and Chambers Street which 'reflected Cousin's transition from pure Italian Renaissance to a mid Victorian freestyle also evident in his later bank-houses' (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). Throughout the 19th Century the High Street's prosperity declined as 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.

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 contains 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 thoroughfares is unparalleled.

List description updated at resurvey (2007/08).



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.

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