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 25933 73434
325933, 673434


David Cousin and James Lessels, 1887. 3-storey with mansard attic and basement, 3-bay principal elevation and 10-bays extending down hill to Guthrie Street, rectangular-plan, corner-sited, Scots Jacobean style former police training school with canted corner and ornate stonework to upper level. Polished sandstone ashlar. Corniced first floor band course; projecting eaves cornice with dentils and decorative carved stone brackets; 1st and 2nd floor cill course to Guthrie Street. Regular fenestration to principal elevations: segmental arched windows with corniced margins and bracketed hoodmoulds to front. Uniform side elevation with rectangular windows to ground and 1st floors, segmental-arched corniced windows to second floor and attic dormers. Segmental-arched windows with bars to basement and timber boarded doors to vehicle entrance. Irregular fenestration to rear.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: central recessed entrance doorway with curved glazing to principal elevation flanked by full-height windows (now partially infilled). Plain pilasters dividing bays at ground; giant pilasters with rosette motif capitals above. Pilastered, scroll bracketed dormers to attic with open segmental pediments. Central light well. Carved stone scroll pedimented tablet commemorating birthplace of Sir Walter Scott to side elevation.

Plate glass in timber sash and case windows to principal elevation; 4-pane glazing to side elevation; bank of rooflights to rear; modern glazed doors to main entrance. Grey slates to mansard with flat lead roof to centre. Corniced wallhead stack at SW corner with scrolled base. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: some good interior detailing survives amongst later 20th century office partitions. Decorative plaster brackets, timber boarding to window surrounds, early 19th century glazed office partitions, and stone stair to front section of building. Rear section of plainer construction with rough stone walls (painted), large cast-iron column and beam construction and rough timber-boarded ceilings. Timber-boarded attic room to rear with 5-light riveted steel roof trusses. Dog leg timber stair to basement with cast-iron banisters.

Statement of Special Interest

This building is a good example of Scots Jacobean Style and occupies a prominent corner position on Chambers Street opposite Edinburgh University and the Museum of Scotland. It has some finely detailed stonework and the large regimentally proportioned secondary elevation to Guthrie Street is particularly dynamic.

James Lessels (1834-1905) was Architect to the City Improvement Trust and the former police training school was implemented by him under this guise although the façade was designed as part of a larger scheme for Chambers Street by the Architect David Cousins (1809-1878). The carved tablet inscription reads 'Near this spot stood the house in which Sir Walter Scott was born 15th August 1771. Memorial Tablet erected by the town council in 1887. Sir Thos Clark Bart Lord Provost. James Lessels Architect.'

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey, 2007/08.



shown on 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1892). Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, (1984), p223. Dictionary of Scottish Architects, [accessed March 2007].

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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to 7-8 CHAMBERS STREET, FORMER POLICE TRAINING SCHOOL

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 30/11/2022 20:12