The Mackenzie Building in Old Assembly Close

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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FEATURED in The Scots are Coming 23-12-2011
FEATURED in A Place to Call Home 10-10-2015

Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Lens: @ 26mm, ISO: 200, Aperture: f7, Shutter: 1/60

The Mackenzie Building is a Category B listed building with Historic Scotland, situated in Old Assembly Close, off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The High Street is located at the heart of the Old Town and has World Heritage Site status. Historically the central focus of public, civic and commercial life within the city, the High Street contains many of Edinburgh’s most distinguished buildings. The Mackenzie Building at No 172 High Street, Old Assembly Close was designed by Alexander Black, and built in 1839-40 with later additions and alterations. It is a good example of a former institutional building in the Scot-Jacobean style which makes effective use of a constricted site. Built as the George Heriot Trust Hospital School, the building makes use of architectural details copied from the 17th-century parent school in Lauriston Place and is recognisably related to another former Heriot Trust School at the East corner of the Cowgate and Pleasance, now the Salvation Army building, also by renowned architect, Alexander Black. It became the wire works of Smith Fletcher and Company during the 19th century when the School moved out. It was extensively remodelled by the Faculty of Advocates in the late 20th century, retaining most of its remaining 19th century exterior details. It was reopened in 1993 as a book store for the Advocates Library and later as a base for the Faculty’s Training & Education department. The principal core of the 19th century building is relatively inconspicuous when viewed from any vantage point along the narrow Old Assembly Close. George Heriot was a jeweller and banker to King James VI. He died in 1625 leaving his wealth to found a school for the ‘faitherless bairns’ of merchants. Old Assembly Close was originally called Little’s Close after the brothers, Clement and William Little (the former founded the University Library; the latter became Provost of Edinburgh in 1585). Dancing assemblys held between 1720-1766 gave the close its current title. This site was also scene to Edinburgh’s most disasterous fire which destroyed all the buildings between here and Parliament Square.

Artwork Comments

  • Tom Gomez
  • Christine Smith
  • Julie  White
  • Christine Smith
  • Katey1
  • Christine Smith
  • WesternArt
  • Christine Smith
  • William Bullimore
  • Christine Smith
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  • Audrey Clarke
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  • Lori Peters
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