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

University of Edinburgh, Societies’ Centre, 60 The Pleasance, EdinburghLB30051

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26289 73357
326289, 673357


James Inch Morrison, 1925-1937, incorporating part of former brewery to E. 2-storey and attic, multi-gabled, crowstepped and pantiled, extensive Scots Renaissance complex grouped around two U-plan internal courtyards and incorporating range with round-arched pend leading from The Pleasance (W). Situated on gently sloping ground. Random rubble with ashlar margins; squared, snecked stugged rubble to former brewery. Some raised cills. Roll-moulded doorways. Gabled, finialled dormers breaking eaves, some cat-slide dormers. Panelled timber entrance doors.

W (PLEASANCE) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 14 bays. Off-centre round-arched doorway with 2-leaf timber panelled door with multi-pane fanlight above.

COURTYARD: 6-bay buttressed hall to N with 3-bay, 3-storey gabled bay to left with segmental-arched entrance. Tall 2-storey semi-circular stair tower to right in re-entrant angle with 2-leaf panelled timber door with inscription above (see Notes).

INTERIOR: (partly seen 2007).Timber flooring and panelling to gym.

Predominantly 12- and 15-pane timber sash and case windows. Some multi-pane fixed windows with top-hoppers. Red pantiles and grey slates. Coped gable and ridge stacks.

Statement of Special Interest

B Group with 48, 48A, and 78 The Pleasance. This is a well-detailed and interesting complex of Scots Renaissance buildings with pantiles which adds significantly to the character of the area. The West elevation in particular forms an important component of the run of buildings from No 48-78 The Pleasance. These stylistically different buildings with their variety of gables facing the street are a significant feature of the streetscape. The courtyard of this complex is particularly notable for its use of different Scots Baronial detailing, enabling each separate building to be distinctive within the same stylistic genre.

The buildings themselves have a varied and complex building history. The former brewery lies to the East of the site and was altered by James Inch Morrison, who then designed the later, mostly pantiled buildings to the West. The 19th century maps show the site occupied by the Pleasance Brewery, but by the 1914 OS map, the Pleasance Brewery is noted as disused. In 1913 the site was offered for sale with 1¾ acres of land. Funding was sought and the site was purchased by the Pleasance Trust. The aim of the Trust was 'to help the people of the Pleasance District, both employed and unemployed and to provide recreation for them in congenial surroundings'. Plans for altering the old maltings into a gymnasium were drawn up in 1914 by James Inch Morrison. Morrison then became the Trust's architect for the remaining works on the site. The war intervened and nothing was done until 1925. The kiln was altered to accommodate changing rooms and a new door was erected with the date and inscription of the foundation of the Pleasance Trust. The inscription reads 'BLISIT BE GOD FOR ALL HIS GIFTIS' and '1913 PLEASANCE TRUST' in a panel above. In 1928 Dr Miller appealed for funds to build the hall which was to become a Theatre. What appears to be the last historical development on the site were the alterations to the buildings fronting the Pleasance.

James Inch Morrison (1878-1944) was an Edinburgh architect whose work included churches, war memorials and schools.

The complex is currently The University of Edinburgh Societies' Centre (2007).

References from previous list description: Edinburgh City Archives, Dean of Guild Court plans (1914; 1925; 1929; 1937). The Pleasance Trust, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh (Historical Booklet) and an appeal.

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

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as '60 The Pleasance, University of Edinburgh Societies Centre'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 253371

Ordnance Survey maps (1933 and 1946).

J Gifford, C McWilliam and D Walker, Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1984), p243.

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.

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South elevation (on courtyard), University of Edinburgh, Societies’ Centre, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh
West elevation to the Pleasance, University of Edinburgh, Societies’ Centre, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh

Printed: 09/02/2023 09:17