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 26172 73527
326172, 673527


E J MacRae, 1930-31 (see Notes). Rectangular cast-iron police call box with classical details. Painted blue. 2-bay pilastered long elevations. Single bay elevations with open pediments containing ribboned wreath paterae. Plaque with city arms to door. Saltire glazing pattern to all elevations. Low-pitched roof.

Statement of Special Interest

This example of an Edinburgh police box is situated prominently beneath stone steps (currently out of use - 2008) leading to High School Yards. This police box was originally positioned outside the City Mortuary on the corner of High School Yards and the Cowgate, as evidenced on the 1952 Ordnance Survey map. It was moved in 1971 as part of the redevelopment of the City Mortuary.

The Edinburgh police box adopts a Classical style to complement the city's classical architecture and while no longer in use for their original pupose, remain a distinctive feature of the city with significant historic and architectural value. Police boxes were introduced to Britain in the late 19th century and become widespread during the 1930's. During this later period, a standard design for Britain was introduced, although Edinburgh did not adopt this and instead the city architect, E J MacRae working with assistants A Rollo and J A Tweedie, designed the Edinburgh box. Each box was intended to serve as a "miniature police station" for officers on the beat with telephone, incident book, fire extinguisher and first-aid kit inside. The official objectives of the Police Box system included 'communicating information to or from the station' and 'preparing reports on occurrences'.

List description updated in 2013



evident on Ordnance Survey Map (1952). E J MacRae, The Royal Mile (1962) p41. John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p213. Robert W Stewart, The Police Signal Box - A 100 Year History (1994) Engineering Science and Education Journal Vol 3:44, p 161-8.

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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Printed: 09/02/2023 09:01