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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Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25981 74077
325981, 674077


Archibald Elliot, designed 1815, built 1819. Classical building with symmetrical elevations, 22 bays to Waterloo Place, 3 storeys (attic floors to advanced pavilions); 4-storey substructure. Polished ashlar. Slightly advanced base course; cill band to 1st floor, dividing band between 1st and 2nd floors; eaves course and cornice; balustraded parapet. Giant pilasters dividing bays to 1st floors of advanced pavilions. Round arched openings to ground floor; recessed aprons to windows. Regularly fenestrated.

S (WATERLOO PLACE) ELEVATION: long palace range with advanced pavilions to centre, outer right and left (3 bays to left and right, 6 bays to centre). Greek Doric doorpieces (later additions) at 7th and 19th bays from left.

E ELEVATION: only visible from 1st floor upwards due to high ground level of Old Calton Burying Ground, adjoining (see separate List description). Later extension block to right of original elevation.

GLAZING etc: predominantly 9-pane glazing to attic floor, 12-pane to 2nd floor (15-pane at pavilions), 18-pane to 1st floor; 9 pane upper sashes and 4-pane lower in timber sash-and-case windows to ground floor. Platform roofs; grey slate. Corniced ashlar stacks to wallheads to either side of advanced pavilions.

INTERIOR: much altered to create office accommodation but some details remain: some elaborate classical ceiling cornicing remains to ground floor. To ground floor of No.23, 2 Ionic columns in foyer area; architraved windows with timber-panelled ingoes and soffits; classical timber chimneypiece with mirrored overmantel; marble chimneypiece with tiled insert and classical grate; consoled timber fireplace. Stained glass fanlight to inner door of No. 25.

Statement of Special Interest

Part of an 'A' Group with Nos 6-20 Waterloo Place, Nos 1-29 Waterloo Place, Waverleygate, Regent Bridge, Register House, Balmoral Hotel and 5-43 Leith Street.

The consistent design and grandeur of the palace-fronts lining both sides of Waterloo Place was conceived to enhance and reinforce the effect of a prestigious triumphal exit created by the paired porticos at the west end of Waterloo Place. The resulting buildings form a highly significant element of the vista up Princes Street towards Calton Hill and the east. Waterloo Place is also a major example of the Greek Revival work of Archibald Elliot, one of Edinburgh's leading architects in the early 19th century.

Elliot designed No. 23 for the Edinburgh Waterloo Tavern and Hotel Company (created in 1818). It was the first large purpose built hotel in Edinburgh, capable of accommodating more than fifty people and advertised as an establishment "where Strangers could see the manners of the people, and mix with the Society of the place." It featured a huge 'Great Room' in the rear wing, three storeys high and Ionic-columned. In the later part of the 19th century this hall was in use as an operetta house, and in 1912 was remodelled and divided into 3 floors creating general offices and stores for the North British Railway Company.

The original use of Nos 25-27 is unclear, but the building underwent alterations in 1889, and again in 1912, as the offices of the Edinburgh and Leith Corporation Gas Commissioners. The 1912 alterations included the extension at the E elevation, a link to new offices on Calton Hill and the installation of a lift in the main stairwell. The present doorpiece was also added at this time. The building is still used as offices.

The elegance and consistent design of the scheme of buildings which line both sides of Waterloo Place are the result of an ambitious scheme to create a more direct and convenient access route at the east end of Princes Street. A plan to form an access to Calton Hill from the east end of Princes Street had been suggested as early as 1790 (probably by John Paterson, Robert Adam's clerk of works). However, at the time it was thought to be impracticable, due to the difficulties of gaining permission to disturb the Calton Burying Ground, and the expense involved in acquiring and demolishing the properties which stood on the new route, especially those which formed a line across the east end of Princes Street.

By 1813, two major new developments made the new route a viable necessity. Firstly, in 1811-12, plans had begun to be formed for the construction of a magnificent New Town to the east, the centre piece of which was to be a development on the east side of Calton Hill. Secondly, in 1814, an Act was passed which designated the south slopes of Calton Hill as the location of the new national gaol. Access to Calton Hill at this time was circuitous and difficult, culminating in the steep, narrow, winding street of Calton Hill.

Acts of 1813 and 1814 appointed commissioners to oversee the construction of the new bridge and road over the Low Calton ravine, and instructed the acquisition of the necessary properties and the intersection of the Calton Burying Ground. In January 1815 Robert Stevenson was appointed as engineer for the scheme. By December 1815, Archibald Elliot?s designs for the buildings and bridge had been chosen over those of Gillespie Graham and Crichton, and Elliot was appointed as architect for the scheme. Stevenson himself had submitted a report which stressed the desirability of retaining the spectacular views to the north and south which would be gained from the bridge. Elliot's final design accorded with Stevenson's views; no properties were built on the bridge itself. The contract for the bridge was signed in the summer of 1816, and construction duly commenced.

Feuing of the building plots began in July 1817, and later in the year a Mr Peter Lorimer bought all the lots. This ensured the consistent and faithful execution of Elliot's scheme.



Appears on Thomas Brown?s map, 1823. M S Irvine HISTORICAL NOTES ? THE CALTON OR CALDTOUN OF EDINBURGH 1631-1887 (Cowan Bequest, Edinburgh Room, Edinburgh Central Library). Plans and elevations PETITION OF THE EDINBURGH AND LEITH CORPORATION GAS COMMISIONERS Dean of Guild Records 1908 Edinburgh City Archives. THE BOOK OF THE OLD EDINBURGH CLUB 1933 pp134-5. A.J. Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) pp135-148. T. Shepherd MODERN ATHENS (1969). I. Nimmo EDINBURGH THE NEW TOWN (1991) pp 63-64. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1994) pp 442-443. A Mitchell THE PEOPLE OF CALTON HILL (1993). H Colvin DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS 1600-1840 (1995).

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. 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.

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Printed: 29/02/2020 00:25