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 25502 74012
325502, 674012


John McLachlan, 1890 (nos 7-9) and Peter L Henderson, 1902 (No 3 -5 and Abbotsford Bar). Two adjoining 4-storey and attic blocks. Scottish Baronial revival block to right with corner turret and pub at ground floor with Jacobean revival interior. Coursed stugged red ashlar sandstone with polished ashlar dressings. Segmental-headed windows. Cill course tat second floor.

W SECTION (NOS 7-9):. 5-bay original block, with 2 further matching bays added to W, circa 1975. Workshops for Jenners, now shop and café. Segmental arched shopfront at ground, projecting cills at 1st fllor; 2nd floor cillcourse and projecting lintel cornices; eaves course. 4 dormers; wrought-iron bracket sign. Stair bay to right with corniced door at ground and date stone. Broad 2-bay W gable with projecting central stack.

E SECTION (NO 3 AND ABBOTSFORD BAR): corner building with bar at ground and timber-panelled entrance doors to corner and outer left bay. Accommodation in upper floors. 3-bay Dutch gable to Rose Street corbelling out slightly at successive floors; segmental pediment. Recessed quadrant corner with bipartite windows and candle-snuffer roof. Macicoltaed cill course. Broad 3-bay gable to Rose Street North Lane; similarly detailed but with rectangular windows.

Plate glass in timber sash and case windows. Pedimented ashlar gablehead stacks. Ashlar coped skews. Grey slates.

INTERIOR OF PUBLIC HOUSE: Jacobean Revival decorative scheme. Timber panelled doors to lobbies; etched glass to upper panels with 'The Abbotsford' on both leaves. Elaborate compartmented ceiling with foliate decoration within decorative panels and egg and dart mouldings to cornice. Two thirds height timber panelling to walls, some panels with mirrors. Door cases with pediments or deep architraves. Central island mahogany bar counter with carved brackets and richly carved superstructure with short paired supporting columns on deep bases, arcaded and moulded cornice with balustered rail. Counter for dispensing food to rear left with timber gantry with carvings, turned decorative columns and balustered architrave rail.

Statement of Special Interest

This is a striking block with good Baronial details on a prominent corner site in the heart of Edinburgh's First New Town. The interior of the public house, which is largely unaltered, is richly decorated with much extremely fine carved timber detail in the fittings and with a good ornamental Jacobean-style ceiling. Originally it had a smoking room and lounge at the rear of the main ground floor room but when the first floor was acquired by the pub in the 1970s for a restaurant, these rooms were converted to accommodate the staircase.

The architect of the public bar and corner section, Peter L B Henderson (1848-1912), was trained as both architect and engineer and became a specialist in the design of breweries and public houses and related buildings for the licensed trade. He was in considerable demand as a designer of public houses and some of the most elaborate pub interiors in Edinburgh are from his hand.

An earlier pub called the Abbotsford Arms was situated on the opposite side of the street. This was demolished to make way for an extension to Jenners' Department store and the company employed Henderson to add a section to another of their properties which had been designed by John McLachlan in 1890 as workshops. Jenners turned to Henderson for the second block because McLachlan had died by then. John McLachlan (circa 1843-1893) had a busy Edinburgh-based practice designing a range of buildings and from 1884 was the architect to the National Bank. McLachlan's section of the building has been mis-ascribed to Henderson but Dean of Guild drawings confirm that it was McLachlan's design. Henderson used a number of the design details from the earlier building in the new block - for example in the segmental windows and the way he lined up the windows horizontally to unify the two buildings successfully.

List description updated as part of the Public Houses Thematic Study 2007-08.



Edinburgh Dean of Guild drawings, Edinburgh City Archives, 31 May 1890, 10 and 17 July 1902. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1984) p322. R. Kenna and A Mooney, People's Palaces: Victorian and Edwardian Pubs in Scotland (1983), pp128-9. Michael Slaughter (Ed.), Scotland's True Heritage Pubs: Pub Interiors of Special Historic Interest (2007), p28. Information from current licensee (2007/8).

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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