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Edinburgh, Leith Street, St James' Centre

Hotel (20th Century), Office(S) (20th Century), Shopping Centre (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith Street, St James' Centre

Classification Hotel (20th Century), Office(S) (20th Century), Shopping Centre (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) New St Andrews House; St James Centre

Canmore ID 68130

Site Number NT27SE 244

NGR NT 2589 7421

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Sir Basil Spence

Building Notes

In the early 1960s it was announced that the eastern New Town area to the southeast of Princes Street in Edinburgh was to be designated as a Comprehensive Redevelopment Area. The Edinburgh Corporation invited developers to create regeneration plans for St James Square, Leith Street and Broughton Street. Spence initially became involved as consultant to the Taylor Woodrow Group. They were succeeded by the Hammerson Group of Companies whose architects were Russell Diplock Associates.

Archive Details

The manuscript material in the Sir Basil Spence Archive explains Spence's involvement with both the Taylor Woodrow Group and the Hammerson Group of Companies. The correspondence and project notes provide details of the main objectives behind the team's design. One of their primary goals was to 'preserve and enhance the existing aesthetic values of Edinburgh' and, for this reason, they ruled out the use of tall buildings as 'an egotistical temptation' which they felt would interrupt the skyline and destroy existing views across the city.

The manuscript material also shows that Spence was very much aware of the need to design a layout that was sympathetic to the needs of both the pedestrian and the motorcar. However, Russell Diplock Associates failure to adhere to the road layout suggested by the Corporation, was one of the reasons that they were unsuccessful in the competition.

Archive Summary

The Sir Basil Spence Archive holds one manuscript batch for this project, which contains correspondence and project notes. There is also a set of 13 drawings including site plans, plans, sections and perspectives of the proposed development.

This text was written as one of the outputs of the Sir Basil Spence Archive Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, 2005-08.


Aerial Photography (1993)

Standing Building Recording (1 October 2016 - 20 December 2016)

At the request of TIAA Henderson Real Estate, following a condition placed on the redevelopment of the site by city archaeologist, Waterman Group undertook a standing building survey and desk based assessment of the St James Centre

Information from Tim Murphy (Waterman Group) December 2015. OASIS ID: waterman2-288489


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