Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25446 74207
325446, 674207


John Brough, 1784; subsequent alterations and additions (see below); whole refurbished by Hurd Rolland and Partners, 1985-90. 4 distinct 3-storey attic and basement former classical houses with set back links and unifying mutuled cornice; now united as BBC studios and offices

(No 4 was 2 houses, formerly Nos 3 and 4; No 6 is pair to No 7, see separate listing). Droved cream sandstone ashlar, badly scarred to

Nos 4 and 6.

NO 4, E HOUSE (FORMER NO 3): 3-bay. Steps to former door to right with moulded architrave and consoled cornice; now blocked as window; steps oversailing basement survive but access denied by railings. Large tripartite timber box dormer with pilasters, cornice and central pediment. Small gabled hall to rear by David Bryce, 1859-60.

W HOUSE: 3-bay; moulded architraves. At left, platt oversailing basement area to deep-set cavetto moulded doorpiece with consoled cornice and 2-leaf panelled door, plate glass fanlight; tripartite window to right at ground with panelled frieze and cornice. Dormer as above. 3-bay gabled hall with arched windows to rear by David Bryce, 1849-51.

Further alterations were carried out by G Washington Browne.

NO 5: 5 bays recast by J Dick Peddie, 1847-8; further alterations by Archibald Scott, 1857, and Kinnear & Peddie, 1880. Moulded architraves, corniced at ground and 1st floors; band course above 1st floor. Pedimented neo-Greek porch at centre, with 2-leaf panelled doors. 3 piend-roofed timber dormers..

NO 6: 3-bay. To right, architraved doorpiece with cavetto reveals, consoled cornice, replacement panelled door and plate glass letterbox fanlight. Segmental-headed bipartite timber dormer to left.

6-bay hall added to rear of Nos 5 and 6 by Dick Peddie.

Timber sash and case 12-pane windows (casements to large dormers). Grey slates; ashlar-coped mutual skews; coped ashlar stacks.

INTERIOR: all 4 properties very considerably refurbished, integrated and adapted to BBC use. Front rooms have largely been kept intact with some panelled dados and chimneypieces; notably Boardroom in No 5, with fine carved chimneypiece, and former Drawing Room in No 6, with an original plain moulded marble chimneypiece. Former Reading Room to rear of No 3 has been much altered and divided; hall to rear of No 4 with floor inserted at gallery level but retains open timber roof and some balustrading. Principal glory is Dick Peddie's Synod Hall, cube within Greek cross with stairs in each corner; proscenium arch, anthemion freize, panelled coved ceiling supporting 2-tier lantern (covered over but still intact), and galleries to sides and rear.

RAILINGS: cast-iron spearhead railings; plain wrought-iron railings to No 5.

Statement of Special Interest

The Philosophical Institution acquired No 4 in 1846 for £2,800, adding the galleried hall to the rear soon after. They then purchased No 3 in 1858, adding a further galleried reading room. Meanwhile in 1847 No 5, and at least the garden of No 6, had been purchased and considerably extended by the addition of the sumptuous hall by the United Association Synod of the Secession Church, subsequently becoming the United Presbyterian Synod Hall and Divinity College. After the Church moved to Castle Terrace, the hall was used as among other things Edinburgh's earliest cinema, and a night club; the BBC bought it in 1930, and it is now the oldest BBC office in Britain. The YMCA had acquired the Philosophical Institution in 1940, selling it in the 1950s to the BBC. The whole site was completely refurbished, integrated and provided with new studios by Harry Bunch of Hurd Rolland, being opened by the Secretary of State in 1990. No 6 displays raggles of former enrichments at ground, including a pediment uniting it with No 7. A significant surviving part of the original fabric of Edinburgh's New Town, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain; Queen Street was built to take advantage of the northern views, and has survived remarkably unaltered to this day.

References and notes updated as part of the Cinemas Thematic Study 2007-08.



RCAHMS INVENTORY no 132. MacRae Her 38. APSD (Queen Street Hall). NMRS Plans Dunn & Findlay Coll EDD /753/1-11. Dick, Peddie & McKay Collection. AJ Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) pp79,92. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) p318. Valerie Fiddes and Alistair Rowan MR DAVID BRYCE 1803-1876 (1976) p96. W Addis Miller A SHORT HISTORY OF THE EDINBURGH PHILOSOPHICAL INSTITUTE 1846-1948 (1949). Dean of Guild plans 26 April 1850, 23 February,

27 April 1860. Cinema Theatre Association,, (2008).

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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