Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24748 61993
324748, 661993


Circa 1810. 4-stage octagonal clock tower containing prison cells/ guard rooms. Squared and coursed, stugged sandstone, base course, raised cills, cill band to 4th stage.

Originally with 4 doors on alternate faces, 1 now blocked as window, 2 others brick-blocked internally. Rectangular, tablet-like windows now blocked with stone or brick, with small ventilation louvres, to each stage of alternate flanks and above each stage where doors at ground, those to 4th stage under the eaves with remnants of former bars. Clock (now modern) fill oculi on 4 of the faces where door/ former door at ground.

Polygonal roof (almost conical), flattened at apex with flagpole, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters.

INTERIOR: stone spiral staircase to centre with cells radiating off. Timber floors. Boarded doors. Water tank now suitably housed.

Statement of Special Interest

The clock tower likely dates from soon after 1803-1804, when Greenlaw House was given over for conversion to a prison for French prisoners of war. Alternatively, it may date from the wider development of the site as a military prison after 1813. The tower was previously encircled by a ground level timber lean-to, possibly containing stores. An equivalent, but taller, octagonal structure exists at HMP Perth, designed by Robert Reid and similarly used for prisoners of war.

Glencorse prison was complete by 1813 and cost £100,000 (Groome.) It could accommodate 6000 prisoners and a plan shows observation walkways and prison blocks radiating from a principal terrace. This form may have survived the conversion to the general military prison for Scotland in 1845, but it was demolished either by or during the conversion to the central brigade depot for southeast Scotland in 1875-1877. Greenlaw House was also demolished, though the cellars may survive in the Officers' Mess block to the southeast. Glencorse Barracks remains in use by the military.

Formerly listed as part of a group including the Keep (LB7458), the barrack block (LB44615), the chapel, terrace and stores (LB44616) and the memorial lodges, gates, gatepiers and boundary walls (LB44617).



Groome's GAZETTEER; THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (1843) pp317-8; C McWilliam LOTHIAN (1978) p218; J Thomas MIDLOTHIAN (1995) p64.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 21/11/2018 13:51