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 25597 73474
325597, 673474


David Cousin, 1864-6. 4-storey Scots Baronial and Jacobean office block, curved to street frontage. Wider single-bay gabled entrance bay to left; 5-bay block with gabletted domers flanking centre to left; tall slim 4-stage balustraded tower with bartizans and caphouse to centre; 2 2-bay blocks with gabletted dormers flanking centre to right; crowstepped gabled bay with 2-storey oriel to outer right. Cream coursed ashlar, (coursed rubble to rear).

ENTRANCE BAY TO LEFT: tall narrow advanced finialled gabled bay to outer left: 2-leaf timber panelled door with semicircular fanlight in round-arched surround within depressed-arch with mask keystone; vermiculated banding to Doric pilasters, lion-masked consoles to entablature, obelisks on pedestals above; decoratively consoled and corniced 2-storey projection to 1st and 2nd floors with strapwork pediment and inscription (see Notes), containing 3-light mullioned and transomed windows with decorative carving to aprons; corbel course stepping over single window with strapwork pediment at 3rd floor.

5-BAY BLOCK: basement behind decorative cast-iron railings on low ashlar coped wall; moulded cornice to ground floor, chequer-set corbel course between 1st and 2nd floors, moulded cill course to 4th floor; spiral decoration to mouldings at ground floor; 2-leaf timber panelled door with plate glass fanlight flanked by pedestals to left; roll-mouldings to 1st floor windows; bracketed cills, colonnettes and strapwork pediments to 3rd; finialled gablets to dormerheads breaking eaves at 4th floor.

TOWER: modern timber panelled door (see Notes) with 2-light window above in depressed-arched recess; machicolated corbel course above; 3-light mullioned and transomed windows to 1st and 2nd floors in 2-storey projection with cornice and strapwork pediment; 2 small corniced windows below carved heraldic panel and balustrade, corbelled turrets to NE, SE and SW (2 latter with slated candle-snuffer roofs); square caphouse to NW.

2-BAY BLOCKS: 3 windows to ground, stepped to street line: roll-moulded depressed-arched openings to ground and 1st floors; continuous corbel course between ground and 1st floors; broad bracketed cornice at cill course to 2nd floor windows; continuous corbel course under 3rd floor window (initials DC in decorative carved panel); finialled gabletted dormers to attic.

ENTRANCE BAY TO RIGHT: crowstep-gabled bay; paired timber panelled doors in roll-moulded depressed-arched surrounds flanked by corbelling to ground; corbelled out 2-storey pedimented oriel above with carved date panel (1866); 2 windows and small opening above in gable.

INTERIOR: at principal entrance stairs mount through series of round arches to 3-tier domed rotunda with decorative cast-iron balustrades; entrances to offices off circular balconies; ribbed and diamond-pattern plasterwork to dome. Panelled walls and coffered and compartmented ceiling to principal ground floor room at No 2 India Buildings (Registry Office); various rooms beyond with some good plasterwork.

Predominantly 4-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Corniced ashlar stacks with circular cans. Gablet-coped skews.

Statement of Special Interest

Built for James Lawson, who also built the adjoining building, now the Fine Art Department of the Central Library (separately listed) designed by John Henderson. Henderson also prepared plans for India Buildings, but after his death the plans were much altered and amended by Cousin. The inscription above the principal entrance reads 'Dominus Providebit.' According to Building News, the gateway in the base of the stair tower was intended for carts. The British Linen Bank had premises in the main block. Victoria Street formed part of Thomas Hamilton's plan for the new Southern and Western approaches to the city and the link to the Grassmarket from the new bridge - Victoria Street. Hamilton was replaced as architect to the Commissioners to the Improvement Act in 1834. The style stipulated by the Commissioners for the new buildings associated with these developments was 'Old Flemish' a variation on Scotch Baronial, drawing heavily on detailing from Heriot's Hospital. Cousin's design is a development of this style.



Dean of Guild 6th January 1865. BUILDING NEWS, 9th December 1864. Appears on 1877 OS map. Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) ill p293. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 237.

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: 29/11/2023 19:42