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 26206 73727
326206, 673727


Robert Hurd, 1956-7, project architect Ian Begg. 5 adjoining but distinct blocks of 4-storey tenements in modern Scots vernacular idiom; shops at ground to Nos 263-1 and 251-3. On sloping corner site facing S at Canongate, E at New Street.

NOS 259-263: 2 2-bay tenements; roofline divided by flat skews and rubble stack; part sandstone ashlar/part pale green render to 263; timber boarded door with iron grille over glazed panel; rubble ground floor to 259-261; both with roll-moulded style openings to ground; large recessed bow windows to shops with vertical timber astragals and bowed sills.

NOS 255-257: 5-bay red harled block set back from street; bay to outer right treated as timber outshot from 1st to 3rd floor; rubble and ashlar low 'forestair' at ground. Timber boarded part-glazed door to 255; that to 257 modern replacement. Small iron-railed balconies to large windows at outer left from 1st to 3rd floor.

NOS 251-253: 6-bay cream harled block with sandstone ashlar 4-bay arcade at ground, shops within (shopfronts similar to Nos 259-263); further single arch to each return. Large square window openings with raised ashlar margins to outer left at 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.

NO 249: ashlar corner gabled block with rubble basecourse (2 bays to Canongate, 3 to New Street); balconies (as above) from 1st to 3rd floor at right; bipartite windows to left with raised margins. Further single bay (containing stairwell) to outer left in rubble; 2 oval windows; timber boarded part-glazed door. Basement windows to New Street.

43 NEW STREET: 3-bay ashlar section; raised margin bipartites to left. Further single rubble bay (stairwell); timber boarded 2-leaf door.

N (REAR) ELEVATIONS: similar treatment to front elevations.

Grey slate roofs, red pantiles to Nos 255-7; flat skews; rubble stacks to 259-263, rendered to 251-3, ashlar wallhead stack to 249. Original small-pane metal-framed tilt and pivot windows (some 16-pane); metal-framed casements and 12-pane timber sash and case windows; some replacement uPVC glazing.

Statement of Special Interest

Built to replace slum tenements (see NMRS Refs STE 10, 11) the Morocco Land Redevelopment reflects Scottish tenemental architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period was viewed as the 'most national' (Robert Hurd in Glendinning et al p410) by the new traditionalist architects of the mid 20th century, of which Hurd was a leading exponent. The project received a Civic Trust Award in 1960. Morocco Land itself, at 265-7 Canongate (listed separately), is a late 17th/early 18th century tenement reconstructed by Hurd as part of the scheme. Hurd's philosophy in redeveloping swathes of the Canongate (at Chessel's Court and the Tollbooth Area) was to re-introduce a resident population to the Old Town drawing from all social groups. Architecturally, national modernism re-interpreted the Scots vernacular acknowledging traditional materials and forms including red pantiles; grey slates; rubble, ashlar, timber, render and harl; arcading; and small-pane glazing. The wide arcaded block at Nos 251-3 takes the form of a late 17th century tenement where a simple arcade provides shelter at ground level. The broken rooflines, irregular frontages, colour and materials create a varied streetscape; the fenestration is also non-standard in size and balconies are incorporated. Some windows throughout the scheme have unfortunately been replaced with non-traditional uPVC glazing (as at 2002).



NMRS Collection including sketches, photographs, postcards and newpaper cuttings Refs STE 10, 11; EDD 21/1; D 93630, 93632; ED 9598, 13356, 4318, 4/3. Edinburgh City Archive, Dean of Guild plans dated 3.10.1953. Gifford, McWilliam, Walker BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH (1984) p211. Glendinning, MacInnes, MacKechnie A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996) pp424-5.

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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