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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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  • Category: C
  • Date Added: 19/12/2002


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGR: NT 28462 74184
  • Coordinates: 328462, 674184


Ebenezer James MacRae, 1937-8. Local authority housing scheme comprising 47 3- and 4-storey, predominantly 7-bay tenements, mainly arranged in two linked tapering squares. 3-bay canted corners to corner blocks. Regularly spaced slightly advanced gablet-headed bays. Advanced round stair turret to centre of Portobello road elevation. Some piend roofed dormers to 4-storey blocks. Hammer-dressed snecked rubble with ashlar angle quoins and bull-faced lintels and quoins to windows. Some 4-storey blocks harled at 1st-3rd floors. Basecourse. Cill courses to rendered blocks. Roll moulded surrounds to timber boarded doors. Roll moulded relieving arches above some doorways. Regular fenestration of single and paired windows.

Some original 12-pane glazing in sash and case windows, many non-traditional windows. Mixture of gabled and piended roofs. Grey scotch and welsh slate. Ashlar-coped skews. Prominent coped stacks with some clay cans.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND RAILINGS: low coped rubble boundary wall with plain cast iron railings to front of all tenements.

Statement of Special Interest

Built on the site of the Piershill cavalry barracks, which were vacated by the army in 1934. Although the barracks were completely demolished, most of the stone was re-used and further stone for the tenements came from other demolished buildings; dressings for the corners, lintels and cills came from Darney Quarry in Northumberland. E J MacRae was the City Architect from 1925 to 1946. His interpretation of traditional Scottish architecture, as seen at Piershill, made him an important influence on Edinburgh architecture in the twentieth century. The Piershill scheme occupies a prominent position on Portobello road, and has been described by Charles McKean in the RIAS guide to Edinburgh as "By far the most distinctive council house development in Edinburgh".



OFFICIAL ARCHITECT, SEPTEMBER 1941 p427-429, article about Piershill Housing Scheme by E J Macrae. Charles McKean, EDINBURGH, RIAS guide (1982) p104. Gifford, McWilliam & Walker, BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH (1988), p566.

About Designations

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 21/10/2016 12:17