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

1-8 (Inclusive Numbers) South College and 1-11 (Odd Numbers) Nicolson Street, EdinburghLB29798

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26017 73295
326017, 673295


Circa 1790. Tall, 5-storey and attic, 10 x 15-bay Classical tenement building with commercial premises to ground. Ashlar with raised cills. Band courses, cornice. Round arched openings at 5 Nicolson Street and 5 South College Street with timber panelled entrance doors and semi-circular fanlight glazing above. Piended dormers, alternately with sidelights.

East elevation to Nicolson Street: off-centre entrance door to flats with flanking shopfronts with timber fascias, recessed entrance doors, timber pilasters, mullions and cills; panelled stall risers. That to right with decorative semi-circular console brackets.

Shopfronts to South College Street with timber fascias, timber transoms and mullions and panelled stall risers.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to upper storeys, plate glass to ground. Grey slates, coped gable stacks.

Statement of Special Interest

This large late 18th century corner tenement has significant streetscape value and survives with little external alteration to the upper storeys. It is a critical part of the expansion of the city in the late 18th century following the construction of the South Bridge. The tenement is notable for the high quality of its shop fronts. The Classical style minimal detailing is typical of Edinburgh tenements built in the late 18th century and it is a leading component in defining the character of the expanding city.

The first Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1849-53 shows this corner building as the Edinburgh Temperance Hotel. In 1851, No 3 Nicolson Street was a small linen merchants store belonging to Ross & Scott. By the end of the 19th century, this store had become Hugh Ross & Co and had expanded to premises occupying 3 storeys at Nos 1, 3 & 5 Nicolson Street and in South College Street. It was described in a late 19th century advertisement as a shop with good taste and refinement. The building continued to be a department store under a variety of owners, until 1968 when John D Blair & Son moved out. The upper storeys of the tenement have since been returned to flats (2007).

South College Street and this section of Nicolson Street date from the late 1790s, after the 1788 completion of the South Bridge (see separate listing). Built as a link between the Old Town and the developing Southern part of the city, the South Bridge improved access and communication. To the South of this tenement, part of Nicolson Street had already been developed on land belonging to Lady Nicolson, and her house and garden stood near this site, between Nicolson Street and the South Bridge. To make the link as straight as possible between the new South Bridge and the part of Nicolson Street already completed, it was necessary to demolish the house and this section of Nicolson Street was built. Roads were then formed between the bridge and the other parts of the town to the East and West.

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as '1-8 (inclusive nos) South College and 1-11 (odd nos) Nicolson Street'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 118241

John Ainslie, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and Leith with Proposed Docks, 1804.

1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1849-53).

John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984 p248.

Malcolm Cant, Edinburgh Shops, 2005 p70.

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


Nicholson Street Elevation, 1-8 (Inclusive Numbers) South College and 1-11 (Odd Numbers) Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

Printed: 17/08/2022 14:10