1-2 India Buildings, Victoria Street, Edinburgh

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
1-2 India Buildings
Other Name(s)
Registrar's Office (Former)
Victoria Street, Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NT 25597 73474
Location Type
HS Reference No


One of the buildings making up a 4-storey Scots Baronial and Jacobean office block, curved to street frontage. Wider single-bay gabled entrance bay to left; 5-bay block with gabletted domers flanking centre to left; tall slim 4-stage balustraded tower with bartizans and caphouse to centre; 2 2-bay blocks with gabletted dormers flanking centre to right; crowstepped gabled bay with 2-storey oriel to outer right. Cream coursed ashlar, (coursed rubble to rear).

Built for James Lawson, who also built the adjoining building, Henderson also prepared plans for India Buildings, but after his death the plans were much altered and amended by Cousin. The inscription above the principal entrance reads 'Dominus Providebit.' According to Building News, the gateway in the base of the stair tower was intended for carts. The British Linen Bank had premises in the main block.

Victoria Street formed part of Thomas Hamilton's plan for the new Southern and Western approaches to the city and the link to the Grassmarket from the new bridge - Victoria Street. Hamilton was replaced as architect to the Commissioners to the Improvement Act in 1834. The style stipulated by the Commissioners for the new buildings associated with these developments was 'Old Flemish' a variation on Scotch Baronial, drawing heavily on detailing from Heriot's Hospital. Cousin's design is a development of this style. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
David Cousin

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
11/12/2008, 29/06/2011, 23/11/2011, 18/2/2015
Development History
December 2008: External inspection finds the building is vacant and generally in good condition, although the rainwater goods are deteriorating. Planning applications for the conversion of 1-3, 6 of India Buildings into a hotel were granted in February 2008, ref: 07/03417/FUL & 07/03417/LBC Set to ALERT at this time
June 2011: External inspection finds the building remains disused. Two top floor windows are partly boarded up. Other windows are losing paint and are in need of maintenance. The gutters to the front are clear but are rusty. Moved to At Risk.
November 2011: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit. The rainwater goods continue to deteriorate.
9 October 2013: Frank Ross, economy convenor at Edinburgh City Council, outlines in article in the Edinburgh Evening News (Building Edinburgh's Future) a plan to commission a study of 12 priority sites believed to have potential for short-term transformation of which India Buildings is one. The article notes the difficulties development projects have in securing financing in the current economic climate. The study is to explore options for public sector intervention to unlock the development potential of the sites, a number of which already have planning permission in place.
18 February 2015: External inspection finds the building remains in much the same condition as seen previously.
30 June 2015: Urban Realm reports on a public consultation by Jansons Property on their proposal to convert India Buildings, along with Cowgatehead Church and an adjoining listed tenement, into 240-bed hotel with a new build element to the rear.
5 November 2015: Full Planning Permission for a mixed use development of India Buildings, 11-15 Victoria Street and Cowgatehead Church is being sought ref: 15/04445/FUL.
27 February 2019: Full Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for a mixed use redevelopment of the site were conditionally approved (15/04445/FUL & 15/04437/LBC) 2016. A Pre Application Notice for a mixed use proposal (17/01014/PAN) has been approved and Listed Building Consent for alterations conditionally approved in 2018 (18/02279/LBC). Building Warrants for conversion works are being sought 18/01181/WARR, 18/01181/WARR/1, 18/01181/WARR/2).
19 March 2019: Local planners advise conversion of the tenements is underway. Moved to Restoration in Progress.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Old Town
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
0131 529 3901


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
Unverified. See FAQ on ascertaining ownership
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit