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 25828 73572
325828, 673572


Alexander Black, 1839-40 with later additions and alterations (see Notes). 2-storey and attic, Scots Jacobean former institutional building with mansard roof, tall corbelled stack at E gable and good strapwork detailing situated on sloping ground to rear of 172 High Street. Ashlar with string course between ground and 1st floor, eaves cornice and buckle-quoins. Parapet with segmental-arch details. 3 segmental-arched dormers to N and S elevations.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 4-bay to entrance (N) elevation: central projecting pilastered and pedimented timber porch with timber doorpiece inserted between two storeys. Ogee-roofed entrance pavilion to NE corner leading to courtyard and stepped platt.

Rear (S) wing: 2-storey and attic, 5-bay over raised basement, built into sloping ground. Door to E elevation with Jacobean style panel above and further pedimented entranceway abutting SE corner boundary wall.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Scottish slate. Particularly broad axial ashlar stacks. Clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: partly seen 2007 - extensively refurbished as Parliament Offices.

Statement of Special Interest

The Mackenzie Building at No 172 High Street, Old Assembly Close is a good example of a former institutional building in the Scot-Jacobean style which makes effective use of a constricted site. Built as the George Heriot Trust Hospital School, the building makes use of architectural details copied from the 17th-century parent school in Lauriston Place (see separate listing-HBNUM 27980) and is recognisably related to another former Heriot Trust School at the East corner of the Cowgate and Pleasance, now the Salvation Army building (see separate listing-HBNUM 30032) also by renowned architect, Alexander Black. It became the wire works of Smith Fletcher and Company during the 19th century when the School moved out. It was extensively remodelled by the Faculty of Advocates in the late 20th century, retaining most of its remaining 19th century exterior details. It was reopened in 1993 as a book store for the Advocates Library and later as a base for the Faculty's Training & Education department. The principal core of the 19th century building is relatively inconspicuous when viewed from any vantage point along the narrow Old Assembly Close. George Heriot was a jeweller and banker to King James VI. He died in 1625 leaving his wealth to found a school for the 'faitherless bairns' of merchants.

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.

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey (2007/08).



John Wood's Map of Edinburgh (1820). 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1859). E J MacRae, The Royal Mile (1962) p41. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p229. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p29.

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 20:43