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 26179 73516
326179, 673516


Alexander Black, 1839-40. 3-storey, 7-bay, L-plan Scots Jacobean former institutional building on corner site with strapwork to spandrels and 1st floor windowheads. Coursed ashlar with moulded dressings. Round-arched arcading to ground with moulded consoles above, between openings. Cill course at 1st and 2nd floors; parapet with round-arched openings above windows. 3-bay to E elevation with shaped gable and chimney breast with clock; elaborate strapwork above at parapet level. Projecting jamb at SE angle: 4-storey with steep pediments at 2nd floor windows; central bracketed wallhead chimney with shafts removed; flanked by square ogee-roofed bartizans at corner angles.

Predominantly 12 and 15-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey Scottish slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

Formerly Heriot's Trust School, No 323 Cowgate is a good example of Scots Jacobean design with many fine details, situated on a prominent corner site. The ogee-roofed bartizans and fine strapwork detailing add much interest to the streetscape at the corner of the Pleasance and Cowgate. The building makes use of architectural details copied from the 17th-century parent school in Lauriston Place (see separate listing - HBNUM 27980) and is also recognisably related to another former Heriot Trust School in Old Assembly Close, now known as the Mackenzie Building of 1833 (see separate listing- HBNUM 29073) also by renowned Architect, Alexander Black.

George Heriot was a jeweller and banker to King James VI. He died in 1625 leaving his wealth to found a school for the 'faitherless bairns' of merchants. In the 19th century this policy was extended to provide free education in a number of outschools including No 323 Cowgate. Built by the Heriot Trust in an urban area of Edinburgh, the arcades were originally open to the street. Later, the school building was sold and became a hostel for the homeless run by a Christian mission church.

List description updated at resurvey (2007/08).



E J MacRae, The Royal Mile (1962) p. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p29.

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: 09/02/2023 08:55