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 18574 75126
318574, 675126


Robert Macfarlane Cameron, 1896-97; alterations by Cooper and Taylor Architects, 1904; later 20th century additions at rear and sides. 2-storey, 7-bay near rectangular-plan Jacobean style golf club house with flat-roofed, single storey, 3-bay addition to right; single storey, 2-bay advanced wing to outer right; 2-storey, 3-bay advanced wing to left; flat-roofed, single storey, 4-bay addition to outer left. Whitewashed harl; half-timbering at 1st floor; red sandstone ashlar dressings. Red sandstone plinth; timber corbel blocks at 1st floor; overhanging timber bracketed eaves. Red sandstone quoins; chamfered surrounds to openings; predominantly stone mullions at ground; timber mullions at 1st floor. Coursed rubble sandstone side elevations; crowstepped gables; red sandstone ashlar dressings. Pitched single storey, 6-bay rectangular-plan whitewashed harl outbuilding to N (store). Near L-plan, a-symmetrical, 2-storey, 3-bay union house to NE: whitewashed harl; grid half-timbering at 1st floor; engaged octagonal canted tower to E; bell-cast and cat-slide roofs.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: basket-arched 2-bay loggia (infilled in bay to left) off-set to right of centre comprising fluted pilasters; decorative spandrel carving; projecting capital detailing. Quadripartite glazed row at ground in closed bay to left; canted window aligned above; open alcove at ground in bay to right; original 2-leaf glazed timber door set in recessed re-entrant angle to left; bipartite window aligned above; "ANO D 1896" centred in apex to right. Bipartite window at ground in bay to right of entry; tripartite window at 1st floor above; single windows at ground in 3 bays to right; 2 bipartite windows at ground in advanced wing to outer right. 2 single windows at ground in bays to left of entry; single window at 1st floor in bay to right; bipartite window in bay to left. Tripartite and single window at ground in bays to left; bipartite window at 1st floor breaks eaves. Timber panelled door facing SW in single storey re-entrant tower to left (red sandstone ashlar); plate glass fanlight; small bipartite window aligned at 1st floor. Advanced wing to outer right comprising bipartite window at ground in bay to outer right; single windows at ground in bays at centre and outer left; single windows at 1st floor in bays at centre and outer right break eaves; single window centred in apex in bay to outer left. Single storey, 4-bay addition slightly recessed to N. Predominantly 4-, 6- and 8-pane upper, plate glass and 4-pane lower timber sash and case windows; infilled loggia comprising leaded lights; some leaded detail at 1st floor. Graded grey slate roof; red sandstone crowstepped skews; terracotta ridge-tiling; some decorative cast-iron rainwater goods. Harled ridge stacks comprising red sandstone quoins; cornices; circular terracotta cans.

INTERIOR (seen 2013): Jacobean decorative scheme throughout club house, including deep cornicing and carved timber panelling, fixtures and fittings including elaborate carved and corniced architraves; original chimneypieces to formal dining room boarded timber-lined walls to changing rooms; built-in timber lockers. Carved and turned baluster timber stair. Stained glass window to main stair with contemporary portraits of golf professionals.

UNION HOUSE: S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: asymmetrical disposition comprising timber panelled door at ground off-set to left of centre; red sandstone architraved surround; overhanging porch; flanking timber brackets; single attic window aligned above breaks eaves. Single window at ground in bay to right of entry; 5-light canted windows at both floors in bay to outer right. Predominantly 8-pane timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slate roof; terracotta ridge-tiling; some cast- iron rainwater goods. Harled central ridge stack comprising sandstone cornice; circular terracotta cans.

STORE: S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: timber panelled door at ground off-set to left of centre; tripartite fanlight; 2-leaf timber panelled shutters to attic window above (breaks eaves). Tripartite window at ground in bay to left of entry; boarded timber door in penultimate bay to left; single window in bay to outer left. Tripartite window at ground in bay to right of entry; sliding boarded timber doors in bay to outer right. Graded grey slate roof; terracotta ridge-tiling; some cast-iron rainwater goods. Harled ridge stack facing E; cornice; circular terracotta can. Ogee-roofed ridge ventilator aligned above attic window.

BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: round-arched rubble coping to random rubble grey sandstone wall; squared and snecked engaged circular gatepiers flank entrance; circular caps.

Statement of Special Interest

A fine example of a 'Jacobean in harl and half timber' golf club (Gifford et al.), with fine detailing, massing, use of materials and including a high quality complimentary interior decorative scheme. This large purpose-built golf club is relatively unaltered and has an important historical connection to the history of golf in Scotland.

Scotland is intrinsically linked with the sport of golf and it was the birthplace of the modern game played over 18 holes. So popular was golf in medieval Scotland that it was a dangerous distraction from maintaining military skills in archery and James II prohibited the playing of 'gowf' and football in 1457.

The 'Articles and Laws in Playing Golf', a set of rules whose principles still underpin the game's current regulations, were penned in 1744 by the Company of Gentlemen Golfers (now The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers). Improved transport links and increased leisure time as well as a rise in the middle classes from the mid 19th century onwards increased the popularity of the sport with another peak taking place in the early 1900s.

The sociable aspect of the game encouraged the building of distinctive clubhouses with bar and restaurant facilities. Purpose-built clubhouses date from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, previously clubs had used villas or rooms in an inn near to the course. Earlier clubhouses were typically enlarged in stages as the popularity of the game increased throughout the 19th and 20th century. The sport has grown further in popularity in recent years, especially overseas in places such as USA and Canada.

At the time of writing (2013), the governing body for amateur golf in Scotland, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), reported around 550 golf courses in Scotland, representing a total membership of approximately 236,000 golf club members. Interestingly, 7 of the 14 venues where the Open Championship is held are in Scotland. Scotland has produced a number of famous golf sporting personalities - historically, Old Tom Morris (1821-1908) and James Braid (1870-1950) were the pioneers of their time. Braid visited the Royal Burgess course in Barnton after World War II and was responsible for some suggested changes to the course itself.

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh traces its origins back into the eighteenth century with the first publicly recorded explicit reference to its existence in 1735 and has since then forged a rich and colourful part of the history of Edinburgh and the game of golf. The club's members first played golf on Bruntsfield Links and used the Golf Tavern as a makeshift clubhouse.

On 2 July 1800, Edinburgh Town Council granted to the Society a Seal of Cause whereby it became a legal corporation with power to hold property, make its own by-laws and regulations and promote the game of golf amongst its members. From about 1787, the Society was known as the Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society until by Royal Edict dated 30 September 1929 His Majesty King George V commanded that the name be changed to The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh.

The Society originally played golf over the Bruntsfield Links but, because of increasing congestion and traffic on the Links, the members moved to Musselburgh in 1874 where they shared a course with The Honourable Company, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society and the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club. However, golf had become so popular that by the 1880s Musselburgh was overcrowded. The Honourable Company moved to Muirfield in 1891. The Burgess Society also looked around for a home of its own.

Accordingly, after considering a number of possible locations, Barnton was chosen in 1894, partly because there was a local railway station which allowed members easy access from the city centre some six miles away. Before finalising the purchase the Council invited the legendary Old Tom Morris to pass judgement on the suitability of the land. Morris went over the ground and declared to the Council's satisfaction 'that the turf was so good that there would be no need to lay greens.' The Course was formally opened on 3 May 1895 and the clubhouse was completed two years later in May 1897.

The architect of the Royal Burgess, Robert Macfarlane Cameron, was born in Edinburgh and later worked in Fife and the Lothians. He was articled to David and John Bryce on 14 September 1875, remaining there as an assistant after completing his apprenticeship. In 1881 he joined the staff of Robert Matheson at the Office of Works as a temporary draughtsman, moving to the Prison Board Architects' Department in 1882. Cameron designed Alloa and Kirkcaldy public schools, 1893, as well as a number of churches and public houses in Edinburgh.

The Union House was originally the residence of the green keeper. It has since been converted to form offices for the golf union (1996).

List description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).



Does not appear on Ordnance Survey map, 1895; appears on Ordnance Survey map, 1908. The Chronicle of the Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh 1735-1935, Vol 1, (1936). Academy Architecture (1893) p67 and 70. J Gifford, C McWilliam and D Walker, Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1984) p548. The Chronicle of the Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh 1935-1985, Vol 2, (1987). Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (2013). Royal Burgess Golfing Society, (2013).

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.

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Printed: 08/12/2021 19:22