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 25878 73582
325878, 673582


James Gillespie Graham, 1813-14 incorporating earlier fabric (see Notes). Monumental, 2-storey and basement, 5-bay Classical building characterised by giant coupled Roman-Doric engaged columns flanking over-sailing steps and large 2-leaf timber door with decorative fanlight above. Polished ashlar. Band course at basement level; moulded cill course at ground floor; band-cill course at 1st floor; plain frieze and moulded cornice, advancing at columns; partially fluted blocking course above. Blind windows to narrow advanced outer bays. Moulded architrave and cornicing to ground floor windows. Decorative wrought-iron overthrow lampholder flanking entrance and arrow-head railings surrounding drop to basement on both sides. Segmental-arched doorway directly below at basement level. Reconstructed early 18th century wing to rear.

INTERIOR: partly-glazed vestibule doors to main entrance. Large entrance hall with broad, consoled segmental-arch leading to domed stair-hall; decorative wrought-iron banisters; circular cupola. Marble chimney-piece with Roman-Doric columns to ground floor front room.

Predominantly 12 and 9-pane timber sash and case windows. Scottish slate. Particularly broad brick and harled stacks with clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

The Lord Reid Building is an outstanding example of early 19th century Edinburgh Classicism. The principal elevation of the building, with its giant Roman-Doric columns, is particularly noteworthy. It is located behind 142 High Street within a small enclosed court accessed solely via the pedestrian 'New Assembly Close' pend. This architectural 'reveal' adds considerably to its interest. Originally built for the Commercial Bank, it survived the High Street fire of 1824 and was later converted for use as the Edinburgh Wax Museum during the 19th century. An earlier 18th century section, used as the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms between 1736 to 1784, is incorporated into the rear of the building. Named after respected Scottish politician and judge, James Scott Cumberland Reid (1890-1975), the building is currently used as the offices of the Faculty of Advocates.

Renowned Scottish architect, James Gillespie Graham was responsible for a great many outstanding buildings in Edinburgh including Moray Place (see separate listing). He is perhaps best known for his Neo-Gothic work rather than Classical although the handling here is clearly assured.

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 medieval thoroughfares is unparalleled.

Previously incorrectly listed as 'Chapel of St David (Masonic)'. Category changed from B to A and list description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey (2007/08).



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1853). E J MacRae, The Royal Mile (1962) p41. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p2. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p16.

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: 02/06/2023 20:53