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

PRINCES STREET, GENERAL REGISTER HOUSE WITH AREA WALLS AND STEPS TO FRONTLB27636

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
14/12/1970
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25836 74048
Coordinates
325836, 674048

Description

Robert Adam, 1774-88; Robert Reid, 1822-34. 2-storey on raised basement neo-classical quadrangular record office with domed circular reading room in centre of court. Polished cream sandstone ashlar (cleaned abrasively in 1969). Projecting taller single bay pavilions at corners and centre of side elevations, with balustraded parapet; those at corners with cupola on square base with free-standing columns at angles, bearing respectively clock and wind vane (blind to rear pavilions). Ground floor and pavilions arcaded with windows set in arches; base course and impost course. Cill course at 1st floor, cornice and blocking course.

S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 13-bay. Rusticated at ground with attached tetrastyle Corinthian centrepiece with pediment bearing roundel of Royal Arms in Liardet?s patent stucco; advanced pavilions with pair of Corinthian columns at 1st floor framing Venetian windows set in recessed arches. 1st floor windows with architraves and cornices; centrepiece with consoled cornices and balustrades, festooned Liardet?s stucco panels above; flagpoles to centre window and roof. Imperial stair with flanking walls (see Notes).

SIDE ELEVATIONS: 9-bay; plain windows.

REAR ELEVATION: 13-bay. 5-bay centrepiece arcaded at ground with alternating pedimented and corniced 1st floor windows; 3-bay links to corner pavilions as above. At centre ground single storey link to Back Dome (see separate listing).

Timber sash and case 12-pane windows. Piended roofs; grey slates; leaded dome.

INTERIOR: of vaulted fireproof construction. Groin-vaulted entrance Hall restored and adapted by Simpson and Brown, 1993, with massive new chimneypiece. Reid?s metal gates to Rotunda rising full-height to oculus of dome; neo-classical plasterwork of dome executed by Thomas Clayton to Adam?s design of 1785 (repainted 1973-4). E and W staircases with arched screens at ground (both now house lift shafts). Lord Clerk Register?s Room at centre of S front (behind portico) with enriched frieze and grey marble chimneypiece. Reid?s interiors start with double cantilevered stair in shallow but tall curved space beyond Rotunda, leading to Historical Search Room (originally Antiquarian Room) lined with 2 storeys of bookcases and timber gallery; heavily moulded Grecian ceiling of compartmentalised rosettes.

Statement of Special Interest

Part of an 'A' Group with Nos 6-20 Waterloo Place, Nos 1-29 Waterloo Place, Waverleygate, Regent Bridge, Balmoral Hotel and 5-43 Leith Street.

Crown property. The first purpose built record office in Britain, and still in use as such. The site was given by the City in 1769 to encourage the development of the New Town they were planning. Adam had prepared his design by 1771, which drew both on plans made up by Robert Baldwin in 1762 and Adam's own unexecuted plans for Syon. Foundation stone for the S section laid on 27th June 1774, the N side having been postponed, but even this work took ten years to complete. Clock and wind vane by Vulliamy installed in 1790, interior of dome painted 1791. N range completed by Robert Reid, 1822-34. Bryce pushed back the front area wall in 1849, in order to accommodate the statue of Wellington (see separate listing), and W W Robertson continued this process, squaring off the staircase in 1890-1. Stonecleaned during restoration in 1969, at which time the rosettes in the frieze were replaced, having originally also been made of Liardet's stucco, like the panels in the centrepiece. Linked to the Sasine Office at 1st floor in 1994. The Back Dome was connected to the rear of Register House in 1871 (see separate listing). New Register House of 1858, and the Sasine Office complete the group (see separate listings). The full length statue of George III is by Anne Seymour Damer, and was originally in the office of her uncle the Lord Clerk Register, Frederick Campbell.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS INVENTORY no 129. MacRae Her 39. Bolton ARCHITECTURE OF ROBERT AND JAMES ADAM (1927). OEC VXVII pp147-175. A J Youngson THE MAKING OF CLASSICAL EDINBURGH (1966) pp65-68, 192. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) pp285-7. Margaret Sanderson 'A PROPER REPOSITORY' THE BUILDING OF GENERAL REGISTER HOUSE SRO (1992). Soane Collection. Rupert Gunnis DICTIONARY OF BRITISH SCULPTORS 1660-1851 New edition p120.

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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