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Rediscovering historic Edinburgh

15 May 2007

Historic Scotland inspectors are to visit the Holyrood Ward in Edinburgh to identify the city’s important buildings and to review existing listings.

The team will visit locations in this ward looking for buildings that merit listing while giving a fresh appraisal to properties already on the list. This will ensure that area has the appropriate statutory protection.

Head of Listing Dr Deborah Mays, said:
“This is a key city centre area with a long and distinguished history. Part of it falls within the World Heritage Site and there is a wealth of outstanding buildings dating from the medieval period onwards.

“The present resurvey will include the eastern part of the Royal Mile and the area encompasses many of the city’s important commercial, civic and university buildings and a significant residential component.

“The resurvey will not include the area covered by the Caltongate masterplan as Historic Scotland will not normally list a building where there are live planning issues.“

Buildings are listed at one of three categories –  A, B and C(s) – reflecting their level of importance. Once listed alterations that will affect the character of the structure require listed building consent before work can begin.

When the team have identified buildings of interest they will contact the local authority and, where possible, the owner.

A building must have special architectural or historic interest to be considered for listing and Historic Scotland would welcome information from members of the public.

For more information on the resurvey contact the lists officer on 0131 668 8705/ 8701.

Following consultation with City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Scotland will then make a recommendation to Scottish Ministers to include a building on the list if it meets the criteria.


Notes to Editors

  • Listed buildings are divided into three categories:
    • A – Buildings of national or international importance – either architectural or historic – or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or type.
    • B – Buildings of regional or more than local importance, major examples of a particular period, style or type that may have been altered.
    • C(S) – Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style or type as originally constructed or altered. Simple traditional buildings that group well with others in categories A and B are part of a planned group as an estate or an estate or an industrial complex.

  • All buildings erected before 1840, the character of which remains substantially intact, are likely to be included in the list. Later buildings are selected on the basis of their individual character and quality. Special regard is paid to:
    • planned streets, villages or burghs
    • works of well known architects
    • buildings clearly associated with famous people or events
    • major examples of buildings connected with social and industrial history and the development of communications
    • distinctive regional variations in design and use of materials
    • good examples within individual building types; and
    • technological innovation.

  • The term “building” is defined broadly in the legislation and can include walls, fountains, sundials, statues, bridges, bandstands and telephone boxes.

  • The list is compiled by Historic Scotland on behalf of The Scottish Ministers. A dedicated team within the Historic Scotland Inspectorate undertakes the compilation, administration and maintenance of the list. Administratively, the list is organised into local authority regions, parishes, burghs or city wards.

  • The list is constantly under review and buildings can be added to the list by three main methods:
    • By comprehensive re-survey of geographic areas
    • By thematic study looking at one particular building type (e.g. hospitals)
    • By individual proposals for buildings to be added to the list.  


  • Although there is no formal right of appeal against listing, Historic Scotland is always prepared to consider people's views.  Listing decisions are made solely in relation to the architectural or historic interest of a building, and any reassessment of a building will be made on the same basis.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Executive charged with safeguarding the nation’s built heritage.  It is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information


Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873
lesley.brown@scotland.gsi.gov.uk