Plans of Chambers Street development, Edinburgh

Scope and Content

Chambers Street development consists of:  

  • plans: National Library of Scotland feasibility studies, (c1971-1973 )
  • plans: Proposals for the new Museum of Scotland, (1925-1973 )
  • report on the Argyle Brewery Site, (1973 )

Administrative / Biographical History

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, is dominated by the University of Edinburgh's 18th century Old College building and the Royal Scottish Museum, on its south side. The street was included in the University of Edinburgh/Nicolson Street Comprehensive Development Area on its northern boundary. Chambers Street, together with the adjacent George IV Bridge, featured in several feasibility studies in the  1970s  as the government sought to extend both the Museum and the National Library of Scotland (NLS). The Ministry of Public Buildings and Works produced an unexecuted scheme to extend the Museum in  1970 , with another drafted by the Department of the Environment, in  1973 . A competition-winning design for the Museum extension, by Benson & Forsyth, was finally completed in  2000 . The removal of Heriot-Watt University to a new campus left its old Chambers Street building vacant. It was first considered for use by the University of Edinburgh and then by the NLS, with a feasibility study produced by the Department of the Environment and Plowman, Craven & Associates (1973 ) before it was ultimately taken over by the Crown Office as its headquarters. The NLS extension was finally built behind the existing building (1999-2001 ). Since  1926 the University has occupied Minto House, which is flanked by the Heriot-Watt building and an entrance to the Argyll Brewery site. The University of Edinburgh acquired the brewery in  1972  and Ian G Lindsay & Partners undertook feasibility studies. In  1975 , the Departments of Architecture, Urban Design & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture moved into premises comprising Minto House and the brewery maltings, which had been converted for the purpose by Ian G Lindsay & Partners. Another part of the brewery site, in the Cowgate, was redeveloped for student accommodation in the  1990s , and the ancient Tailor's Hall sold to a private developer.

Access Information

This material is unrestricted.


List of sources for the administrative history:

Fenton, Clive, Appleton's architects : building the University of Edinburgh (1949-65), Thesis (PhD) (Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh , 2002 )

Geographical Names