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 25401 74205
325401, 674205


Robert Adam, 1770-71; attic and roof refurbished by David and

John Bryce, 1876; restored by Simpson and Brown, Architects, 1992. Symmetrical 3-storey basement and attic, 5-bay neo-classical house. Polished ashlar cream Craigleith sandstone. Square cut rustication at ground terminated by band course containing Vitruvian scroll. Tripartite columnar doorpiece with stylised capitals and fluted frieze with medallions; panelled door and modern timber fanlight (radiating semicircle within a rectangle); 4-pane sidelights; single step to platt oversailing basement. 1st floor cill course; modillioned and dentilled cornice; solid coped parapet. 1st floor windows with architrave and cornice; shorter 2nd floor windows architraved.

12-pane replacement timber sash and case windows (with horns). Each bay of mansard roof with timber piend-roofed dormer (remodelled 1992) to lower section and large 3-pane rooflight to upper section; moulded hoppers; grey slates; ashlar coped skews; patched ashlar stacks.

INTERIOR: entrance Hall with glazed timber inner porch (1992), original ceiling (diamond with central rosette and swagged husks) and modern (1992) stone chimneypiece to Adam design; glazed double doors with consoled overdoor to stair hall. Apsidal ended Dining Room (now President?s room) to left with Adam?s original Bacchanalian frieze, timber chimneypiece (1992) to Adam?s design echoing frieze; modern ceiling (1992) to Adam?s design and colours; modern overdoors (1992) with dentilled cornice; pair of doors in apse curved. Study to right with timber chimneypiece (1992) and modern ceiling (1992) to Adam?s design and colours; apparently original glazed mahogany presses flank fireplace; gib door to passage. Parlour to SE with simple veined marble slip chimneypiece. Modern toilets to SW. Stair hall with consoled overdoors at centre of each landing; painted stone stair with plain square iron balusters; mahogany hand rail starts with a spiral and steps up at final stair of each landing; square panelled cupola with egg and dart cornice. Cantilevered spiral stone service stair to W starts at vaulted basement and ascends to attic. 1st (Principal) floor with pair of drawing rooms to N joined by double doors of circa 1825; overdoors with cornice and honeysuckle frieze; original ceilings with colours restored as indicated by paint scrapes (1992), cornices and original marble chimneypieces to Adam?s design reinstated in both rooms. Large Drawing Room (Cullen room) to E; rectangular ceiling with central ovals and griffons in end compartments; chimneypiece with swagged husks. Small Drawing Room (Davidson Room) to W; square ceiling with rosette in a fanned circle at centre and quadrant corners,

4 roundels painted with cherubs; consoled and fluted chimneypiece. SE Bed chamber (Duncan Room) with timber chimneypiece (1992) made to an alternative Adam design for the dining room; projecting semi-octagonal former Dressing Room, now kitchen, as link to SW Bed chamber (Gregory room) with grey veined marble chimneypiece of circa 1840; shadow of former wallpaper concealed by pier glass; W window now link to New Library corridor (see No 9). Substantial 2nd floor rooms with simple moulded original stone chimneypieces; attic ditto with large room created to E. Cornices to all rooms, elaborate to principal ones; chair rails to ground and 1st floor rooms.

RAILINGS: cast-iron railings to basement area.

Statement of Special Interest

Built for Robert Orde, Chief Baron of the Court of the Exchequer, this was one of the first houses to be erected in Queen Street, which was built to take advantage of the northern views available in Edinburgh?s New Town, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain. It was then, and is still, one of the grandest houses in Queen Street, as well as being the only symmetrical one. This also makes it stand out from Adam?s terraced London houses, which generally had the entrance displaced to one side. Adam?s plan was reversed in execution. The mansard roof itself appears to be original and merely altered (see Kirkwood). The David Allan catalogue suggests that he may have been responsible for the original roundels in the Drawing room ceilings, the present cherubs are probably 19th century. The link between the drawing rooms was enlarged with double doors in the earlier 19th century, at which time the overdoors were added. The plasterwork was carried out by Thomas Clayton Jnr, but it has been suggested (by Gifford, McWilliam and Walker) that the ceiling in the Large Drawing Room is not as fine quality as its neighbour and so may be a replica, but this seems unlikely. The same authors also suggest that the main stair balusters may have been replaced. The house was acquired by the Royal College of Physicians in 1864, who had bought and rebuilt the adjoining No 9 Queen Street in 1844. It was immediately re-let to the Edinburgh Institution, but in 1876 the College reclaimed the ground to the rear to build their new library (see separate listing). The College took full possession of No 8 in 1957, making a direct link via the quadrant corridor leading to its New Library; this enters through a former window in the Gregory Room (1st floor SW). It has recently been restored by Simpson and Brown with advice from Ian Gow and new ceilings and chimneypieces by Dick Reid. The two new ceilings were installed by Classical Plasterers of York, and the roundels, of appropriate medically related mythological subjects, were conceived and painted by William Kay on canvas. It is impossible to know whether these ceilings were originally executed. As part of this restoration the chimneypieces from the principal drawing rooms were returned to their original positions, the lift which occupied the stairwell was removed, and the plate glass windows replaced. The sideboard in the Dining Room, and the pier tables, glasses and back stools in the drawing rooms, as well as the festoon curtains, were installed in a historical spirit in 1992 (furniture designed by Andrew Johnston of Simpson and Brown).



RCAHMS INVENTORY no132. MacRae Her 38. AT Bolton ARCHITECTURE OF ROBERT AND JAMES ADAM (1922). Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) p319. D King THE ARCHITECTURE OF ROBERT ADAM (1991). M J Rowe HISTORY OF NO 9 QUEEN STREET to be published 1995. J M Wallace HISTORIC HOUSES OF EDINBURGH (1987) p68. ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS Guide Book (1980). Ian Gow and James Simpson "8 Queen Street Edinburgh: Restoring an Adam House" ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE IV (1993) pp58-65. THE ARCHITECTURE OF ROBERT ADAM; LIFE DEATH AND SURVIVAL RIAS (1992). SCOTSMAN 3 November 1955. CATALOGUE OF DRAWINGS ... THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE MR DAVD ALLAN NLS. Original drawings in Soane Collection vols 12/67-72, 22/280-288 and 43/61-66; chair designs

vol 49/50,52 (copies at NMRS). Dean of Guild 15th April 1876. NMRS Drawings EDD/277/2.

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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Printed: 02/07/2022 21:41