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 26166 74021
326166, 674021


Thomas Tait, 1934-9. Monumental, symmetrical, Classical Art-Deco office building dramatically situated on sloping hillside with square-plan internal courtyard. Curved S wall and long entrance elevation to N (Regent Road). Central 8-storey, 9-bay block with flanking 6-storey stair towers and 3-storey and recessed-attic wings. Ashlar, channelled to ground, with some moulded margins. Stepped base course, band course, cornice. Wings with curved 3-storey projections to S at outer bays

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: NORTH (REGENT ROAD) ELEVATION: central, vertically emphasised 7-bays divided by 6, engaged, square columns, surmounted by figurative statues (see Notes). Decorative metal panels between 4th and 5th storey windows. Recessed storeys above with few narrow window openings. Central advanced 2-storey, 7-bay, flat-roofed entrance porch with central, massive 2-leaf bronze entrance doors with carved relief, flanking circular columns with carved Scottish Coat-of-Arms above.


Predominantly metal, multi-pane, lying-pane casement windows, some with top hoppers. Flat roofs.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Series of excellent, high-quality Art Deco rooms with fine detailing and timber panelling. 2 full-length, open-well cantilevered staircases with terrazzo risers, metal balusters with horizontal banding and brass handrail. Conference rooms with full length Indian silver-grey wood panelling, fine Art Deco detailing and distinctive rounded stone fire surrounds and hearths. One walnut panelled room. Art deco detailing in door handles and lamps and fire surrounds. Clerestoried restaurant. Majority of remaining space converted to open-plan offices.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATES: to N. Low, curving, ashlar wall with 2 tall, geometric, ashlar lamp standards with round-edged glass and metal lamps. Heavy, metal gates to drives to far right and left. To S and E; 19th century, tall, battered, rubble retaining wall interspersed with castellated turrets.

Statement of Special Interest

One of the best examples of inter-war architecture in Scotland and among the finest of its date in Britain, this is an outstanding building, designed by an internationally acclaimed architect. The building occupies a spectacular hillside position and takes advantage of the terrain to produce an edifice of dramatic quality which contributes significantly to the cityscape of Edinburgh. The exterior is particularly notable for its fine, well-executed detailing, including the carving on the bronze doors and figure sculpture on the entrance elevation. The interior contains some very fine rooms with excellent Art Deco detailing.

St Andrew's House was built on the site of the 19th century Calton Prison, which had often been considered an inappropriate building for such a prominent site in the city. The idea to erect Government Offices on the site was mooted as early as 1912, but was held back by numerous delays and indecision. WW1 delayed events, as did the choice of architect and design. Tait was eventually chosen as architect in 1933 and the building was completed by 1939.

The sculptures to the central block of the building were designed by Sir William Reid Dick (1879-1961), a prominent sculptor whose previous work had been mainly in London. The figures represent Architecture, Statecraft, Health, Agriculture, Fisheries and Education.

Thomas Tait (1882-1954) was one of Britain's most influential inter-war architects. Born in Paisley, he worked extensively throughout his career with John Burnet and was a partner in the renowned Burnet, Tait and Lorne practice. The practice was influential both in Britain and abroad and Tait was involved in designs including Adelaide House, London, the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1936-7 and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Changed from category B to A in 1987.

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08.



John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p441. David Walker, St Andrew's House, 1989. Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (accessed 15-06-07). Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Canmore database.

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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