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
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26098 74886
326098, 674886


Hugh Cairncross, building 1807. Classical double tenement with common stair to centre; symmetrical 3-storey basement and attic, 11-bay elevation to Gayfield Square. Smooth V-jointed rustication to ground floor (except centre bay), droved ashlar to upper floors and all storeys of centre bay (droved ashlar to basement; predominantly coursed rubble with droved margins and quoins to side and rear). Dividing band between basement and ground floor; dividing band between ground and 1st floor (excluding centre bay); cill band to 1st floor; main cornice dividing 2nd and attic floor; eaves course. Centre bay slightly recessed. Regular fenestration (3-bay basement with segmental-arched windows to right advanced section).

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to centre bay to ground floor, timber-panelled door (to flats) with 6-pane fanlight; to centre bay to left advanced section, 2-leaf timber panelled door with umbrella glazing to segmental fanlight and doorpiece with sunk-panelled jambs and patera; to centre bay to right advanced section, timber- panelled door with radiating batwing glazing to segmental fanlight and plain doorpiece; steps and platt overarching basement recess to each doorway. Cast iron balconnettes to 2nd floor to right advanced section.

NW (SIDE) ELEVATION: 1-bay elevation; timber-panelled door to ground floor.

GLAZING etc: predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Pitched roof; graded grey slates; stone skews and skewputts. 1 corniced, squared rubble and droved ashlar gablehead stack; 1 corniced, ashlar mutual ridge stack to far right; 2 corniced ashlar ridge stacks to front pitch to centre; 1 corniced, part rendered ridge stack to rear pitch; 2 corniced, squared rubble wallhead stacks with droved dressings to rear; circular cans to all stacks.

RAILINGS: to edge of basement recess and platts, stone copes (edging of basement only) surmounted by spear-head and urn finialled cast iron railings.

Statement of Special Interest

This classically detailed double tenement block is a good example of early 19th century high quality tenement design in Edinburgh. It also has streetscape and historical value as an element of the Gayfield estate development. It also has significance as one of the few extant buildings designed by Cairncross, formerly a pupil or assistant of Robert Adam, for whom he was clerk of works at several prestigious projects including Culzean Castle and Old College, Edinburgh University.

24-26 Gayfield Square forms part of the Gayfield Estate, so named because it stands on the former grounds of Gayfield House (East London Street; 1763-5, still extant; separately listed Category A). These lands were feued by the solicitor James Jollie from 1785. Building began on either side of the drive to the house, with James Begg's magnificent tenement building to the NE and villas to the SW. These developments began to establish the form Gayfield Square, which forms the heart of the estate. It was part of Jollie's plan from the beginning that this should be so; in January 1783 he advertised that the Gayfield grounds were to be feued for building purposes 'according to a plan.' His advertisment promised prospective feuars 'remarkably pleasant' rustic situation and 'uncommonly beautiful views' in addition to 'the privilege of the area of the square'. Sasines record that '..the area of Gayfield Place [is] to remain an open space for all time coming.'

By the first few years of the 19th century, Jollie had employed Cairncross to prepare plans and elevations for buildings on plots yet to be feued on the NW and NE sides of Gayfield Place, and also possibly for Union Place. There is some evidence to suggest that John and Alexander Drysdale and David Skae, all builders, bought and built on the feus on this NW side.



Sasines, S.R.O. I. Lindsay, GEORGIAN EDINBURGH, (1973), pp58-59. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH, (1991) p 428. H.Colvin, DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS, (1995), p206.

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


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