Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 33212 36734
333212, 636734


Earlier 19th century with late 19th/early 20th century alterations and later 19th century printing works to rear. 2-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan shop and flat above. Base course; fascia supported on paired pilasters; canted shop window to left; office with tripartite timber window to right. Squared whinstone with painted sandstone quoins and raised tabbed window margins; render to sides and rear. Canted dormers and later 20th century forestair to rear.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Leaded toplights and etched glass to shopfronts. Grey slate roof, corniced gable end stacks with plain clay cans.

INTERIOR: fine shop and office accommodation in original condition with fixtures. Glazed shop window with enclosing glazed screen, fitted glazed timber cabinets, timber shelving, mantelpiece and panelled ceiling. Office with beaded tongue and groove panelling, fitted shelves, timber mantelpiece with tiled inserts and internal leaded window overlooking shop. Upper flat with marble chimneypieces and cast-iron grates; unusual turned timber stair set sideways with delicate cast-iron banisters; 4-panel doors.

PRINTING WORKS: 2-storey, roughly S-plan, pitched and piended workshop with later additions and 20th century stair tower to SW. Engineering brick N and E elevations, render elsewhere. 4 top-hung timber windows to S elevation; 2 high windows to N gable; banks of rooflights. Timber-boarded doors. Slate roof, cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: plain rendered interior with boarded floors, doors and plain chimneypiece. Water wheel. Original timber shelving to paper store and first floor compositor's room. Archive of printing materials, machines and equipment in situ throughout interior. Timber ladder stair from compositors room to machine room housing printing machines dating from 1860 including an 1886 Wharfedale. Collared timber roofs. Reconstructed water wheel on original gearing.

Statement of Special Interest

Smail's Printing Works is an earlier 19th century town house with a fine shopfront in it's original condition which makes a considerable contribution to the streetscape. The buildings are preserved much in the state that they were found in 1986; a time capsule from the turn of the 20th century marking the development of the business over the century. The buildings also encompass an important social history element for the local area by housing a record of the local printing firm.

Robert Smail (1826-1899) was a general merchant in Innerleithen from 1857. In 1866 he purchased the buildings on the High Street from the Traquair Estate, along with the adjacent house Holm Villa on Leithen Crescent, in order to set up a printing business. Smail took advantage of the boom in local industries and printed all the labels for Ballantyne's of Caerlee Mill as well as other mills across Scotland.

The shop originally had a smaller 3-bay shopfront to the left of the building. It was upgraded around the end of the 19th century to form a glazed shopfront and shop with integral panelled cabinets to the left and a private printing office to the right. The upper flat has some fine interior detailing, including marble mantelpieces and an interestingly angled turned stair with delicate cast-iron balustrades.

The printing works to the rear were raised to 2 storeys in 1911. The building is physically attached to No. 13 High Street.

Robert Smail's Printing works were purchased by the National Trust for Scotland in 1986 and have been conserved as found with all interior details intact. The works are still in commercial use on a small scale, using the original printing methods and materials, and are opened to the public on a regular basis. The printing works roof was reconstructed circa 1990.



NTS Booklet, Robert Smail's Printing Works. Kitty Cruft, Buildings of Scotland, Borders (2006) p401. Robb and Stevenson, Glimpses of Old Innerleithen and Traquair (1989) p6 & 19.

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 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.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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 advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. 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: 25/04/2019 15:22