Located on the edge of Holyrood Park 1¼ miles (2 km) southeast of the centre of Edinburgh, Pollock Halls of Residence are the largest of the University of Edinburgh's student residential complexes. Gifted to the University by Sir Donald Pollock, the two original houses on the site became students residences shortly after the Second World War; St Leonard's for women and Salisbury Green for the men. Salisbury Green was built c.1780 and extended in 1867 for the publisher William Nelson (1816-87), while St. Leonard's was built for his brother Thomas (1822-92) in 1870. The modern halls began with the stylish Holland House which opened in 1959, designed by Sir William Kininmonth (1904-88), followed soon after by its slightly less spacious mirror, Fraser House (the two are now together known as Fraser House). In the 1960s six system-built tower blocks were added, named in honour of former Principals of the University; Baird, Ewing, Lee, Turner, Brewster and Grant, together with a Refectory block, much later named the John McIntyre Centre after the first Senior Warden of the complex, who also acted for a time as a Principal. To these was added the largest, Cowan House, which opened in 1973 replacing a hall of the same name which was demolished to make way for the regeneration of George Square. A further hall, Masson House, was added in the early 1990s. The original Masson had been next to Cowan in George Square, but this was replaced by a Victorian house on South Lauder Road, which was extended for the purpose in 1966, but later sold.
Two of these halls, Cowan and Brewster, were demolished to make way for the luxurious Chancellor's Court, which opened in 2003 and is now the largest on the site. St. Leonard's Hall now contains offices and function rooms and Salisbury Green was converted for use as a hotel in 2006.
The complex houses 1940 students, the vast majority in single study-bedrooms and benefiting from full catering.