History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Royal High Primary School, Northfield Broadway, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 55.9538 / 55°57'13"N

Longitude: -3.1403 / 3°8'25"W

OS Eastings: 328895

OS Northings: 674003

OS Grid: NT288740

Mapcode National: GBR 2B.XVVK

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.QMT3

Plus Code: 9C7RXV35+GV

Entry Name: Royal High Primary School, Northfield Broadway, Edinburgh

Listing Name: 61 Northfield Broadway, Royal High Primary School, with Boundary Wall, Railings, Janitor's House and Playshed

Listing Date: 19 December 2002

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396550

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49042

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Craigentinny/Duddingston

Traditional County: Midlothian

Find accommodation in


G Reid and J Smith Forbes, 1929-31. Quadrangular plan classical primary school, single storey, with 2 storeys to S. Later, plainer, 2-storey, 3-bay by 6-bay wing to SE. Distyle segmental portico with fluted Roman Doric columns and finialled, pedimented clock tower (dated 1931) to N. Pea-harled brick walls; stone and artificial stone dressings. Base course with decorative vents; eaves course. Architrave mouldings encompassing panelled aprons to some windows of main elevations.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 18 bays. Advanced central piend-roofed section with portico to cente, flanked by small windows; bowed stone steps to cast-iron gates and border-glazed door with circular glazing to fanlights; bracketed frieze, fluted cornice and acorn finials to entablature of portico. Corniced, bracketed tablet behind portico inscribed SCHOLA REGIA EDIMBURGENSIS with Edinburgh crest and acroteria. Lower, 6-bay flanking bays; 2-leaf timber panelled doors to penultimate bays; X-glazed fanlights; moulded architraves with bracketed, fluted cornices and acroteria.

E ELEVATION: 5-bay. String course; blocking course. Round-arched windows with projecting, fluted cills. Roundels between windows, alternately plain and fluted panels to blocking course above windows.

S ELEVATION: 22-bay roughly symmetrical range progressively advanced towards centre. (Additional piend-roofed wing to E - see preliminary Description above). 12-bay advanced section to centre with parapet and fluted aprons to 1st floor windows of 6 central bays, flanked by lower 3-bay sections. Blocking course to central 12 bays with fluted panels above central windows; band cill-course to outer bays; high base course. Regularly fenestrated to both floors. Arched doorways with very large scrolled keystones to flat-roofed penultimate bays; 2-leaf timber panelled doors; fanlight.

COURTYARD: single-storey advanced corridor encircling courtyard; originally partially open, now walled in with large horizontal windows. 2-storey to S with the 2nd storey raised above 1st storey on piers. Basecourse; eaves course to corridor and classrooms behind. Projecting piers to each bay. Border-glazed clerestorey windows above corridors to S, E, and W. Pair of 2-leaf glazed doors to centre of S range.

S ELEVATION OF N RANGE: advanced flat-roofed 3-bay section to centre with round-arched openings; 2-leaf border-glazed door with fanlight to centre in moulded architrave with decorative scrolled keystone

Predominantly 12-pane sash and case windows to external elevations and 8-pane glazing in quadripartite windows to courtyard. Piend roof; red tiles. Corniced ventilators to ridge of E and W ranges. Shouldered stacks with fluted tops to ridge of N range; cylindrical cans.

INTERIOR: many original fixtures, including doors with stencilled lettering.

ENTRANCE HALL: entered through vestibule from border glazed 2-leaf inner door with circular-glazed fanlight. Timber fluted half-columns between recessed arched bays; moulded plaster architrave and cornice; freize bearing the motto MUSIS RESPUBLICA FLORET (Let The Arts Flourish In A Civilised State) in several languages. Large globe electrolier suspended on multiple wires from central plaster roundel. White marble floor with black edging.

ASSEMBLY HALL/GYM: timber panelled to dado. Timber carved architrave frames to all doors. Semicircular stage to N wall with columns and half columns to front. Similar arrangement of columns to S.

DINING ROOM: as above (without stage); timber servery hatch between doors to N wall.

JANITOR'S HOUSE: 5-bay, single-storey and attic. Nepus gable to centre. Harled. Basecourse; cornice, blocking course. Timber door with glazed inner door to centre; fanlight with circular glazing; semi-circular porch supprted on brackets. Semi-circular steps to door. Piended roof. Gable-end stacks, cylindrical cans. Quadrant walls to garden.

PLAYSHED: 5-bay playshed supported on channelled piers; blocking course. Square 1-bay pavilions at each end. Harled with ashlar dressings. Basecourse; bandcourse. Pavilion roofs surmounted by finial.

BOUNDARY WALL AND RAILINGS: low, coped, ashlar boundary wall to E surmounted by cast-iron railings, with tall, corniced piers at intervals. Decorative wrought-iron gates and decorative wrought-iron gate-posts within massive ashlar piers with scrolled tops. Plain cast-iron railings to S and W.

Statement of Interest

Royal High Primary School was one of the last inter-war schools to be built by Edinburgh Education Authority. It is an excellent embodiment of contemporary theories on school design, which dictated that the school environment should be both healthy and aesthetically pleasing. In pursuit of the 'Crusade against Consumption', great attention was paid to the supply of fresh air sunlight. To this end the east and west corridors had open sides (later closed in), and the courtyard plan allowed all the rooms to have windows on two opposite walls, thereby allowing a cross-current of air. It is also to be noted that all the classrooms face south, gaining a maximum of sunlight, while the offices and communal rooms occupy the other sides of the courtyard. In addition to this emphasis on health, it was acknowledged that children were affected by their surroundings, and that "to house school children in buildings which did not have some pretence of symmetry and good design could not fail to react unfavourably on the children". The elevations are in the simple neo-Georgian style, but the attention to detail is excellent. The interior detail is particularly good, from the pilastered entrance hall and woodwork in the dining room and assembly hall to the stencilled lettering on the office doors, the glazing patterns, and the pseudo-Japanese ||o|| motif which appears on the stair rails, and recurs elsewhere, including the iron railings in the playground. The overall effect of cheerful sophistication is not commonly found in a school.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.