Conservation work approaches completion at West Register House, Edinburgh

26 February 2021
Major conservation work is now approaching completion at West Register House in Charlotte Square, home to the National Records of Scotland, together with General Register House in Princes Street.

The work has been part-funded by Edinburgh World Heritage, who also provided technical advice based on their many years of experience in conserving many of Edinburgh’s most historic buildings. 

Funding from Edinburgh World Heritage has been provided through the Conservation Funding Programme, supported by Historic Environment Scotland. The financial support has primarily funded stonework repairs including the conservation of prominent sandstone roundels on the west of the building, a key architectural feature. One of the roundels was beyond repair, and has been replaced with a new piece carved by young stonemason Josephine Crossland (pictured), from local firm Hutton Stone.

West Register House

Originally designed by Robert Adam in 1791, West Register House, originally St. George’s Church, was reinterpreted by Robert Reid and completed by 1814. One of its key features is the copper dome, a prominent feature of Edinburgh’s skyline. West Register House is a Category A-listed building in the heart of the New Town, housing government records, digital preservation and public records teams, as well as significant archive stores of the National Records of Scotland. 

Christina Sinclair, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: ‘throughout the pandemic, we have focussed on ensuring that crucial conservation work to Edinburgh’s historic buildings continues. We are delighted with the high quality of work carried out at West Register House by the team, and congratulate Jo on the high quality of her work to the roundels’.

Paul Lowe, Chief Executive of the National Records of Scotland, added: ‘I am delighted that National Records Scotland have successfully delivered this major programme of repairs to our iconic West Register House building. I am very grateful for the dedication of our Estates team, the consultants and the experts we have worked with, including skilled stonemasons and their painstaking work. 

‘I would also like to thank our neighbours in Charlotte Square and the wider New Town for their cooperation and patience as we have delivered these major works. We are extremely happy to return this building to its former glory and for it to once again take its rightful place on the Edinburgh city skyline’. 

Report and images © Edinburgh World Heritage