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 25884 73737
325884, 673737


James Dunn and James Finlay, 1899-1902. Huge Scots Renaissance block of tenements and shops, including the former printing works and offices of the SCOTSMAN newspaper (now the Scotsman Hotel); 7 3-bay, 4-storey and attic blocks to North Bridge, twin 3-bay gabled and turreted 7-storey and attic blocks to Market Street with balustraded terrace leading from North Bridge level to octagonal stair tower to Market Street; 2 3-bay, 4-storey and attic blocks curved to Cockburn Street with bartizaned corner block to Fleshmarket Close, and arcade leading from North Bridge to Cockburn Street. Coursed cream ashlar; squared and snecked bull-faced sandstone with polished dressings above ground floor to Cockburn Street. Windows predominantly bipartite and tripartite, some with moulded architraves, blocked surrounds, chamfered stone mullions and transoms.

E (NORTH BRIDGE) ELEVATION: modillioned eaves cornice and stone parapet. Red granite base course, round-arched openings with channelled piers and carved transom panels to ground floor of 3 bays to right (former SCOTSMAN office); blocked bipartites above; stone-domed octagonal corner turret to outer right. 3 bays to centre flanked by engaged circular turrets with copper ogee roofs corbelled out at 2nd floor; arcade entrance to ground floor with allegorical figure in niche above; apex stack to scrolled pediment elaborately enriched with heraldic carving above. Diocletian windows to 3rd floor of 3 bays to centre and 2nd floor of 2 flanking blocks; canted windows with stone parapet above in alternate bays to 1st floor of 3 centre blocks. Corner block to outer left with round-arched entrance on canted corner and octagonal stone-domed tower with lantern above; bracketed balcony at 1st floor; Diocletian windows with carved transom panels below to 2 bays to left; enriched pediment to attic gable above.

S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: tall corniced and blocked wallhead stack to outer right.; 3-storey oriel with balustered balcony corbelled out to centre; empty niche supported by putti in scrolled gable above; bracketed balconies at 2nd and 4th floors.

N (MARKET STREET) ELEVATION: 3-bay steeply gabled block to left with segmental-pedimented aedicule containing sculpture to gable, flanked by stone-domed octagonal turrets corbelled out at 1st floor level; carved panel with SCOTSMAN masthead flanked by heraldic lions; balustraded, bracketed terrace leading to W block; round- and segmental-arched openings to 3 floors below North Bridge level (that to right at ground floor former vehicle entrance). Lower link building to centre. Bowed bay at Market Street level linking to Scotsman Steps. Gabled block to right with 4-storey oriel corbelled out from decorative carving at 3rd floor; steep gable with sculpted panel and wallhead stack; 4-bay W return with round-arched entrance to terrace.

SCOTSMAN STEPS: Blois-style octagonal spiral stair tower with decorative wrought-iron grilles in depressed-arched openings. Glazed tiles to interior.

W (COCKBURN STREET) ELEVATION: corner block to left with copper-domed circular tourelle corbelled out at 2nd floor to corner of Fleshmarket Close; crowstepped gable to Fleshmarket Close. 2 3-bay blocks to right with crowstepped gabled bays to centre, that to left with round-arched entrance to arcade.

ARCADE: V-shaped arcade running from North Bridge to Cockburn Street. Round-arched entrances with decorative iron grilles. Coffered ceiling with turquoise and gold star-spangled mosaics. Original shop-fronts with bowed plate glass flanked by timber Ionic colonnettes. Central ribbed dome with lantern and original stained glass.

INTERIOR: entrance hall of Scotsman Hotel: reception area and stair: carved timber panelling to entrance hall and reception area with fluted Ionic pilasters; compartmented 17th century-style plasterwork to ceiling; grey-veined white marble with Ionic pilasters to stair hall; leaded and stained glass to oriel window. Scotsman Bar (former Public Office of SCOTSMAN newspaper): mahogany panelled; timber bracketed gallery with decorative iron handrail; 17th century-style compartmented ceiling with ornate decorative plasterwork (fruit and flowers) supported on grey-veined white Sicilian marble piers with gilded capitals.

Predominantly plate glass in timber sash and case windows; 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to Cockburn Street. Grey slates. Some cast-iron down pipes with decorative hoppers. Corniced ashlar stacks with some circular cans; large brick stack to centre.

Statement of Special Interest

A Group comprises 20-52 (even nos) North Bridge including Scotsman Steps, Arcade, Royal Mile Mansions, 175 and 177 High Street and 65-71 Cockburn Street, 3-29 (odd nos) North Bridge, Carlton Hotel, 137-141 (odd nos) High Street and 31 North Bridge. Following the widening of North Bridge, and the demolition of Halkerston's Wynd, Kinloch's Close, Carruber's Close, Milne's Square and the Poultry Market, the extensive site to the W of the Bridge was purchased from the City in 1898 by John Ritchie & Co, proprietors of the SCOTSMAN newspaper. Dunn and Findlay were commissioned to design a complex of buildings for the site, including offices and printing works for the newspaper, and commercial premises. The booklet entitled THE SCOTSMAN BUILDINGS shows plans and elevations (described as 'Free Renaissance style with French chateau features') both of the Scotsman buildings and of the adjacent commercial premises, 'now nearing completion', which are advertised for rental. The plans show the direct access from the lowest level of the building to the newspaper's private railway siding at Waverley Station. The building at 1-6 Market Street, now the City Art Centre (separately listed) was also part of the complex. James Leslie Findlay was the son of John Ritchie Findlay, proprietor of the SCOTSMAN. The Scotsman offices and printing works moved to No 20 North Bridge from their 1st purpose-built premises at 26-30 Cockburn Street (Peddie and Kinnear, 1860). The premises for the newspaper were both a prestigious building on a commanding site, opulently decorated both outside and in the public interiors, and a functional one. The building is steel-framed, with concrete-clad floors and brick-lined columns. It was equipped with Lanson pneumatic tubes, electric lighting and electric lifts. The flexible design of the building allowed it to remain in its original use for almost a century. It was converted to hotel use in 2000.

The allegorical figure above the entrance to the North Bridge Arcade is by William Birnie Rhind. The figure of Peace in the aedicule on the N elevation is by Frederick Schenk, those of Mercury and those based on Michelangelo's Night and Day by Joseph Hayes.

The elevations to Cockburn Street (Nos 65-71) were designed to link with Peddie and Kinnear's buildings of the 1860's, and John MacLachlan's National Bank building of 1892-3 at 179 High Street and 73 Cockburn Street (separately listed).

Category changed from B to A, 19 December 2002.



Original drawings by Dunn and Findlay in NMRS collection. Dean of Guild 3rd May 1898, 4th May 1899, 17th May 1900. THE SCOTSMAN BUILDINGS (1902). ACADEMY ARCHITECTURE 1899 vol 1 p89 (perspective view to N); 1903 vol 1 p107 and 1902 vol 2 pp104-5 (sculpture, Frederick Schenk). Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 232. S McConnachie 'The Scotsman Building,' AHSS MAGAZINE (WINTER 2000).

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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Printed: 30/07/2021 06:13