Historic Scotland Listing

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The Building (including the boundary wall) is a category B Listed Building and the details can also be found Historic Scotland Listed Buildings website

Listing Details

HB Number 30020
Item Number 41 12
Map sheet NT27SE
Date of Listing 04-JUL-2001


Thomas Hamilton, 1846-8 with alterations and additions, including JA Scott and A Lorne Campbell, 1903. Former New North Road Free Church. Prominently sited rectangular-plan gothic church with pitch-roofed 5-bay nave, polygonal apse and projecting porch flanked by stair towers to Y-junction. Polished grey ashlar. Moulded base course.

NW ELEVATION: semi-octagonal flat-roofed stair towers with gabletted projections at ground level flanking hoodmoulded pointed-arched entrance; 2-leaf timber boarded door with decorative cast-iron hinges; cross-finialled open gablet above continued as blind tracery enfolding upper sections of stair towers. Large hoodmoulded 2-light window with geometric tracery in gable above; decorative pinnacle and niche to apex; octagonal turrets with gabletted pinnacles to corners.

NE (BRISTO PLACE) ELEVATION: 2 storeys separated by moulded courses and linked by parapet above: paired lancets to ground floor, cusped tracery in hoodmoulded 2-light windows above, flanked by gabletted buttresses with semi-octagonal bases. Single storey flat-roofed asymmetrical vestibule adjoining 1st and 2nd bays to SE, with glazed timber door in link, canted windows with small leaded panes and chamfered mullions to NW and NE.

SW (FORREST ROAD) ELEVATION: 2 storeys separated by moulded courses and linked by parapet above: paired lancets to ground floor, cusped tracery in hoodmoulded 2-light windows above, flanked by gabletted buttresses with semi-octagonal bases. Shallow finialled, gabletted porch in 2nd bay from right, with 2-leaf timber boarded door in pointed-arched hoodmoulded surround.

INTERIOR: porch with stairs to gallery; 2-leaf timber panelled door with small pane glazing to 5-bay nave; single-span arch-braced roof. U-plan gallery supported by cast-iron columns; hoodmoulded gothic windows with carved headstops. Polygonal apse at SW, closed off at ground floor from nave, lit by small lancets with small-pane diamond glazing; organ loft in pointed-arched recess above: gothic timber screen with decorative niche.

BOUNDARY WALLS: saddle-backed ashlar coping to low coursed sandstone boundary walls.

Square-section cast-iron down pipes with decorative hoppers. Graded grey slates.


Dean of Guild 13th August 1846 and 4th June 1903. Appears as New North Free Church on 1854 OS map. Edinburgh City Archive: Minutes of the Improvement Commissioners. Plans of Western and Southern approaches, NMRS EDD/551-3. Wilson, Daniel MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH IN THE OLDEN TIME (1891). Rock, Joe THOMAS HAMILTON (1984). Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 166. EDINBURGH'S BEDLAM THEATRE, A HISTORY BY SEVERAL HANDS (1991).


Former ecclesiastical building, currently used as a theatre. The closing service of the church took place on 7th November 1937, when the building was gifted to the University of Edinburgh, to be used as the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy Centre. This area was just outside the Flodden Wall, and inside the Telfer Wall (1628-36). It was occupied by the Charity Workhouse (to the W of Forrest Road), the Poorhouse for Children and the Bedlam, or lunatic asylum (marked on Kirkwood's 1817 map). The Bedlam was partially housed in the former Darien House (built in 1698 and illustrated in Wilson's MEMORIALS), which had been the offices of the ill-fated Darien Company. The poet Robert Fergusson died in the Bedlam in 1774 at the age of 24, and his physician, Andrew Duncan, campaigned successfully to have the institution closed down. The triangle of Forrest Road, Bristo Street and Teviot Row was part of Thomas Hamilton's plan for the new Southern Approach, linking Princes Street to George Square and the Meadows (via the Mound, Bank Street and a new bridge - George IV Bridge). This former church, the former New North Road Church, is critical in closing the vista south from the Bank of Scotland. Hamilton also designed a church - 'John Knox's Church' (not built) - on Castle Hill, terminating the vista from Princes Street up the Mound. The 1903 Dean of Guild drawings show plans by JA Scott and A Lorne Campbell for the vestry and waiting room to SE, and the organ chamber to S.


© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2007 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on 02 January 2007 . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listed Buildings Section, Historic Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8707 / 8720 / 8702 / 8981. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8722. e-mail: hs.listingandconsents@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.