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

University of Edinburgh, Students Union, Teviot Row House, 22-23 Teviot Row, EdinburghLB27998

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25859 73069
325859, 673069


Sydney Mitchell and Wilson, 1887-1889. 4-storey, attic and basement, rectangular-plan, university amenity building in 16th century Scots palace style with Holyrood Palace-type drum towers and large late Gothic traceried windows, coped crowstepped and pinnacled gables; 2- and 3-storey, 5-bay wing in 16th century style to NW added 1902-1905 by same architects. Squared coursed sandstone rubble, ashlar dressings. Substantial 3-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan Modernist style extension to SW by Jack McRoberts of Rowand Anderson, Kinninmonth and Paul, 1962 (Blyth & Blyth, structural engineers; Arnott McLeod & Co, contractors).

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical, coped crowstepped gable end; 4 bays to centre flanked by towers. Advanced pointed arched crenellated stone porch, 2 leaf timber boarded door, octagonal buttresses; flanking bipartite transomed and mullioned windows. Bipartite traceried, transomed and mullioned pointed arched windows (tall windows at 2nd floor). 1902 extension advanced to right: 3-storey gabled and turreted bay to left; 2-storey, 4 bay section to far right. Transomed and mullioned tripartite windows, octagonal ventilator.

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: slender circular-plan towers to corners; advanced crenellated 2-bay, 4-storey section to left. Ventilator to ridge.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: 3-storey, canted 3-light windows to centre. 1962 extension further left.

INTERIOR: a good original decorative scheme in place with fine tracery detail woodwork, plaster work, paired turret stairs, and panelled rooms principally of 16th century character. Later alterations and modernisations to form various bar and restaurant spaces. 1st Floor reading room. Paired circular stairs with fine ribbed ceilings leading to 2nd floor panelled hallway and Debating Hall with curve fronted balcony to N end and shallow pitched hammerbeam roof. Linear Servitors flat to 3rd floor extending into turrets with plain fireplaces. 1902-1905 extension: ground floor contains galleried library with fitted glass fronted timber bookcases (converted to bar 2006). 1st Floor Middle Reading Room with fireplace and Dining Room with paired marble and timber fireplaces with integral bust niches to either end, tunnel vault ceiling with decorative vine banding.

1962 EXTENSION TO S: 2 storeys on concrete columns with compartment beneath, 3 by 3 structural bays, rectangular-plan. Reinforced concrete construction. External walls of white board-marked concrete. Basement compartment with white roughcast render; wrought-iron boundary fence. Fenestration consists of 3 glazed wrap-around bands with no corner supports, upstand beams form divisions at 2nd floor level; 4 domed roof lights inset between upright columns. Tapering support columns of cruciform plan to lower section, circular plan to upper section, inverted conical heads projecting beyond edge of beam.

INTERIOR: entry from main building on Park Place. Upper level dining room, with gallery, conical headed board-marked columns, Parana pine linings and hardwood block floors. Gallery stairs on board-marked concrete spines with hardwood treads and balustrades without risers. Servery connected to the kitchens in the old building by a flying link on the north. Lower level billiard room accessed by a flying stair within the earlier building, lined with horizontal Parana pine boarding, linoleum and rubber floors. Carpenter's workshop in the ground level basement.

Statement of Special Interest

This gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the building(s). It is not intended to be definitive.

This student union is prominently located in a key corner site along the periphery of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site within the heart of the University Buildings. It is an important building in the lexicon of Scots Renaissance revival architecture and also has an important and sympathetic post-war extension.

Sydney Mitchell and Wilson specialised in institutional and country house commissions and are lauded for their virtuosity in Free Renaissance architecture in the late 1880s and 1890s.

When Kininmonth was first approached by the University Union to build an extension over the fives court, in 1948, he proposed a stone structure, but government funding was not possible until the building was transferred to university ownership. The cost of continuing the traditional style and construction would have been prohibitive and the executed design dates from 1960.

The Union extension has a freedom of execution uncommon in Edinburgh at the time in its uncompromising beton brut Modernist style, the column supports marked by a bold formwork pattern of batons and nailheads. The obscure location, in a service lane, allowed a more radical design than the planning authorities might otherwise have permitted in a central area of the city. The inspiration in this instance seems to have been provided by the concrete structures of Italian engineer, Pier Luigi Nervi, which were heavily featured in the architectural press at the time.

A fire in 1994 gutted the Debating Hall after which all the timber was reinstated.

(List description updated in 2006 and at re-survey 2011-12.)

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as '22-23 Teviot Row, Teviot Row House, University of Edinburgh Students Union'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 74112

The Builder (20 April 1889; 6 January 1906).

Plans in British Architect (21 June 1889).

J G Bartholomew, Map of Edinburgh (1891).

Concrete Quarterly 61 (April-June 1964) pp14-16.

Edinburgh, Dean of Guild Court records (26/1/62).

J Gifford, C McWilliam, D Walker, Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh (1988) p247.

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 You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


East Elevation, University of Edinburgh, Students Union, Teviot Row House, 22-23 Teviot Row, Edinburgh - on a clear winters day, leafless tree in foreground.
South Elevation, University of Edinburgh, Students Union, Teviot Row House, 22-23 Teviot Row, Edinburgh - on a sunny clear day.

Printed: 25/06/2022 14:18