St Andrew's House

(Scottish Office)

St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh

St Andrew's House is located in Regent Road, to the east of Edinburgh's Princes Street. It lies on the flank of Calton Hill, overlooking Waverley Station, the Canongate and Salisbury Crags beyond. Built in 1939, by Thomas Tait, it is one of the most significant examples of an art deco style building in Scotland and is now preserved through a category 'A' listing. Previously it was home to the Scottish Office, which was transferred here from London through a process of limited devolution prior to World War II, a concession which kept nationalism at bay for many years. Built to include the offices of the Secretary of State for Scotland, St. Andrew's House is now the principal office of the First Minister and the Scottish Government, responsible for running Scotland since the Scotland Act (1998). The building was subject to a £20 million refurbishment in 2001.

To the rear of St. Andrew's House, next to the Old Calton Burial Ground, is the Governor's House, a turreted structure, which was part of the municipal prison that had previously occupied the site. The original Bridewell Gaol was built by Robert Adam (1728-92) and extended to form Calton Gaol by Archibald Elliot (1761 - 1823), but the complex was demolished just prior to the building of St Andrew's House. The bodies of several convicted murders who were executed in the jail were buried in the grounds and still lie under the west car park. The door of the condemned cell from the jail can now be found in the Beehive Inn in the Grassmarket.

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