West Register House

(National Archives of Scotland)

West Register House, Charlotte Square
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

West Register House, Charlotte Square

Located on the west side of Edinburgh's Charlotte Square, West Register House magnificently concludes the vista of George Street. It was built in 1811 as St George's Church, to the design by Robert Adam (1728-92), although much modified by Robert Reid (1774 - 1856) who was tasked with the actual construction. The church was planned originally as an integral part of James Craig's proposals for the New Town (1766), although the symmetry of that scheme was disrupted when the land was not available to built St. George's mirror on St. Andrew's Square.

Despite Reid's cost saving measures, the church was still built on a grand scale, with an Ionic portico, Corinthian colonnade and sizeable, but elegant, green copper dome, topped with a gilded lantern. The dome is said to be a scaled-down copy of that of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Structural defects and a declining congregation led to its acquisition by the government. It was converted in 1964 for use by the Scottish Record Office (now the National Archives of Scotland).

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