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Latitude: 55.9495 / 55°56'58"N
Longitude: -3.1885 / 3°11'18"W
OS Eastings: 325878
OS Northings: 673582
OS Grid: NT258735
Mapcode National: GBR 8PG.MR
Mapcode Global: WH6SL.ZQVC
Plus Code: 9C7RWRX6+RJ
Entry Name: Lord Reid Building, New Assembly Close, 142 High Street, Edinburgh
Listing Name: High Street, New Assembly Close, Lord Reid Building
Listing Date: 14 December 1970
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 368269
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB29069
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: City Centre
Traditional County: Midlothian
Tagged with: Building
James Gillespie Graham, 1813-14 incorporating earlier fabric (see Notes). Monumental, 2-storey and basement, 5-bay Classical building characterised by giant coupled Roman-Doric engaged columns flanking over-sailing steps and large 2-leaf timber door with decorative fanlight above. Polished ashlar. Band course at basement level; moulded cill course at ground floor; band-cill course at 1st floor; plain frieze and moulded cornice, advancing at columns; partially fluted blocking course above. Blind windows to narrow advanced outer bays. Moulded architrave and cornicing to ground floor windows. Decorative wrought-iron overthrow lampholder flanking entrance and arrow-head railings surrounding drop to basement on both sides. Segmental-arched doorway directly below at basement level. Reconstructed early 18th century wing to rear.
INTERIOR: partly-glazed vestibule doors to main entrance. Large entrance hall with broad, consoled segmental-arch leading to domed stair-hall; decorative wrought-iron banisters; circular cupola. Marble chimney-piece with Roman-Doric columns to ground floor front room.
Predominantly 12 and 9-pane timber sash and case windows. Scottish slate. Particularly broad brick and harled stacks with clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
The Lord Reid Building is an outstanding example of early 19th century Edinburgh Classicism. The principal elevation of the building, with its giant Roman-Doric columns, is particularly noteworthy. It is located behind 142 High Street within a small enclosed court accessed solely via the pedestrian 'New Assembly Close' pend. This architectural 'reveal' adds considerably to its interest. Originally built for the Commercial Bank, it survived the High Street fire of 1824 and was later converted for use as the Edinburgh Wax Museum during the 19th century. An earlier 18th century section, used as the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms between 1736 to 1784, is incorporated into the rear of the building. Named after respected Scottish politician and judge, James Scott Cumberland Reid (1890-1975), the building is currently used as the offices of the Faculty of Advocates.
Renowned Scottish architect, James Gillespie Graham was responsible for a great many outstanding buildings in Edinburgh including Moray Place (see separate listing). He is perhaps best known for his Neo-Gothic work rather than Classical although the handling here is clearly assured.
The High Street is located at the heart of the Old Town and has World Heritage Site status. Historically the central focus of public, civic and commercial life within the city, the High Street contains many of Edinburgh's most distinguished buildings including St Giles Kirk and Parliament Hall (see separate listings). Its special architectural and historic interest as one of Edinburgh's primary medieval thoroughfares is unparalleled.
Previously incorrectly listed as 'Chapel of St David (Masonic)'. Category changed from B to A and list description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey (2007/08).
External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.
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