William H Playfair, 1845-50; David Bryce, 1858-59; Sydney Mitchell, 1899; JM Dick Peddie, 1885 and 1901-3 (see Notes). 2-storey and attic Tudor Collegiate theological college built round quadrangle: tall square-plan towers with crocketed pinnacles, crenellated parapets and angle buttresses flanking gatehouse; lower tower to NE corner concealing gable of library (former High Church). Octagonal towers to quadrangle. Corbelled octagonal apex chimney stalks to gables. Assembly Hall: 2-storey crenellated elevation with Tudor gothic detailing to Castlehill. Rainy Hall: 2-storey wing to W with Tudor gothic detailing to N elevation.
NEW COLLEGE: lightly stugged ashlar with polished dressings. Tall base course, moulded to upper edge; moulded string courses between floors; crenellated parapet; hoodmoulded tripartite mullioned and transomed segmental-arched windows; finialled bipartite dormers with carved decoration in pediments breaking eaves. Corbelled octagonal apex chimney stalks.
N ELEVATION: recessed single bay gatehouse to centre: hoodmoulded Tudor-arched entrance with 2-leaf metal gate and grille to groin-vaulted pend to quadrangle; crenellated parapet above with date (1845); 2-storey oriel with crenellated parapet above; small bipartite window and further crenellated parapet above. Flanking 6-stage towers: bipartite windows to 1st and 2nd stages, single windows above. 3-bay outer wings with corner pinnacles. Recessed 4-stage tower to outer left: studded timber boarded door with plate glass fanlight in moulded Tudor-arched surround; bipartite window to 2nd stage; circular blind opening to 3rd and single window above.
E ELEVATION: 4-stage tower to outer right: studded timber boarded door with plate glass fanlight in moulded Tudor-arched surround; hoodmould stepping up over date panel (1846) above; bipartite window to 2nd stage; circular blind opening to 3rd and single window above. Projecting slated single storey porch in 3rd bay from right with kneelered skews and hoodmoulded Tudor-arched bipartite window (formerly door); small bipartite windows to outer right and left. 5 hoodmoulded pointed-arched windows with Y-tracery and stained leaded glass at 1st floor (lighting library).
QUADRANGLE: 2 recessed studded timber boarded doors in Tudor-arched surrounds to either side of pend. 7-bay S-facing elevation: 2 octagonal 4-stage towers with crenellated parapets and narrow hoodmoulded windows at each stage flanking single-bay gatehouse; Tudor-arched entrance to pend to centre; tripartite window at 1st floor; small single windows to 2nd; bipartite to 3rd; single bay to outer right, accessed through crenellated Tudor arch; 2 bays to left. 6-bay E-facing elevation: regularly fenestrated; glazed door in hoodmoulded Tudor-arched surround in 2nd bay from left. N-facing elevation: 2 finialled, leaded ogee-roofed 5-stage octagonal towers with small louvred openings to top stage to SE; studded timber boarded doors in hoodmoulded Tudor-arched surrounds to base of towers; flight of steps to 2 timber boarded doors in crocketed depressed-arched surrounds (entrance to Assembly Hall) under crenellated parapet between towers; narrow bay to outer right with door in crenellated porch. 6-bay W-facing elevation: timber-studded door with plate glass fanlight in hoodmoulded Tudor-arched surround to outer right; 5 hood-moulded pointed-arched windows with Y-tracery and stained leaded glass at 1st floor (lighting library).
W ELEVATION: mullioned and transomed windows to ground and 1st floors. 2 gabled bays to right: bowed stair bay with crenellated parapet to left.
LIBRARY: top-lit Jacobean roof with pendants at tie-beams. Stained glass by Douglas Strachan, circa 1911. Later timber library fittings and panelling (A Lorne Campbell, 1934-6).
MARTIN HALL: (former library) geometric plasterwork ceiling with cavetto cornice; timber panelled dais; stained glass window (War Memorial, Douglas Strachan) to W.
S (CASTLEHILL) ELEVATION; asymmetrical crenellated screen wall following street line (see Notes). Squared and snecked stugged sandstone with polished dressings. Stepped string course over ground floor openings. Later timber boarded doors in hoodmoulded Tudor-arched surrounds to outer right and left and 4th bay from left. Tripartite window with cusped tracery and small-pane leaded glass in 2nd bay from right; tripartite window with Y-tracery in crocketed Tudor-arched surround between 1st and 2nd bays from right to 1st floor, flanked by bipartite windows with cusped tracery; other windows to 1st floor tripartite, with cusped tracery.
12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to ground floor; small-pane leaded glass to 1st floor.
INTERIOR: steps from quadrangle lead into Assembly Corridor: glazed timber roof with kingpost trusses; black and white diamond pattern Minton tiles to floor; trefoiled, stone-mullioned windows to N; timber screens and 2-leaf timber doors with linenfold panels and leaded small-pane glazing in roll-moulded depressed-arched surrounds leading to Assembly Hall to S; 2 16th century lintels from Sempill House incorporated. Assembly Hall: glazed timber roof with trusses carried by cantilever brackets on square-plan cast-iron columns (painted to resemble timber); pendants to centre. Galleries with panelled fronts to 4 sides. 3-light mullioned windows (stained glass by David Strachan behind Moderator's dais) to N; small stained glass panel to roof (burning bush and motto NEC TAMEN CONSUMEBATUR).
RAINY HALL: 2-storey and basement building with finialled ogee-roofed ventilator/lantern to pitched roof; rectangular gothic refectory hall to 2nd floor; 5 Tudor-arched windows with perpendicular tracery and small-pane leaded glass N elevation; crenellated parapet.
INTERIOR: shallow painted and gilded hammerbeam roof with painted shields to corbels. Cusped light oak panelling to door frame height with painted and gilded crests and foliate frieze. 2-leaf timber panelled doors with cusped panelling in roll-moulded Tudor-arched stone surrounds. Fine bronze pendant light fittings with gilded fleur-de lys motif. Bronze relief (Principal Robert Rainy, by David Wissaert, 1915) in timber aedicule to W.
Grey slates. Tall octagonal chimney stalks with octagonal cans.
RAILINGS, GATES, GATEPIERS AND LAMP STANDARDS: cast-iron railings and gates, decorative cast-iron gatepiers and lamp standards to Mound Place.
Statement of Special Interest
Originally built as Free High Church and theological college for the newly established Free Church. Playfair's design was chosen after a competition. The foundation stone was laid by Dr Thomas Chalmers in 4th June 1846. Grant describes New College as being 'in the English collegiate style.'
From Hanover Street, the 2 principal towers of New College frame the spire of the former Tolbooth Church, built as the meeting hall of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (James Gillespie Graham and AWN Pugin, 1839-44, now the Hub Festival Centre, separately listed).
The bronze statue in the quadrangle of John Knox preaching is by John Hutcheson, 1895.
The Dean of Guild drawings by Bryce of 1858 show the S elevation of the Assembly Hall as a single storey crenellated screen pierced by 3 2-leaf timber boarded doors in Tudor-arched surrounds, 4 arrow-slit windows to right, 3 windows to left, surmounted by a continuous hood-mould. According to the BUILDER the building was to have 'no architectural pretensions, serving only to provide a large and commodious hall for the deliberations of the Assembly,' and having 'an internal rather than an external character'. This elevation was extended to the E by John Dick Peddie in 1885, and raised to 2 storeys in 1902-3, when the size of the Hall was increased by lowering the floor, public and ladies' galleries built, division lobbies with access doors created, and lavatories, a smoking room and museum added.
The Rainy Hall, named after Principal Robert Rainy (1826-1906, 1st Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church) was opened on 2nd November 1900 as part of the internal reorganisation which took place after the formation of the United Free Church. Dean of Guild plans show Sydney Mitchell's work at this time including the incorporation of the former Tollbooth Parish School in Ramsay Lane. The decorative work in the Rainy Hall was executed by James Clark, to the specification of Sydney Mitchell. Sydney Mitchell and Wilson's work includes the double doors from the quadrangle to the Assembly corridor and the bowed staircase to the W, facing the garden.
The Assembly Hall was adapted in 1999 for use as a temporary home for the Scottish Parliament by Simpson and Brown, Architects.
Listed building record and statutory address updated (2015).
Previously listed as 'Mound Place and Castlehill, New College and Assembly Hall, with railings, gates, gatepiers and lamp standards'.