Governor's House, Edinburgh

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Governor's House
Historic view of Governor's House

The Governor's House is a building situated on the southernmost spur of the Calton Hill, beside the south-east corner of Old Calton Burial Ground, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It looks out over Waverley Station, the Canongate and Holyrood Park to the south.

The building from 1815-17 is all that remains of the Calton Gaol, once the largest prison in Scotland, completed in 1817.[1] It was designed by Archibald Elliot (1761-1823) who was also responsible for the nearby Waterloo Place and Regent Arch.[2] The House contained the Committee Room used by the Commissioners who governed the prison.

Its castellated and turreted form is similar to James Craig's Old Observatory House on the Calton Hill, but its design was more likely influenced by Robert Adam's older 'Bridewell' of 1791, which stood alongside the newer prison.[3] The Gaol closed in 1927 and, except for the Governor's House, was demolished in the 1937 to make way for St Andrew's House. Many say that the house is still haunted by the ghosts of former prisoners, whilst some contemporary critics refused to enter the Gothic building in the years following its construction.

Until recently the building housed the Scottish Government's multimedia team and for a time was considered as a possible official home for Scotland's First Minister, replacing the National Trust for Scotland owned Bute House.[4]

Governor's House taken from Old Calton Cemetery.
Governor's House view from Old Calton Cemetery


  1. ^ Gifford, McWilliam, Walker and Wilson, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, Penguin 1984, p.442
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Magnus, Gardham (October 8, 2011). "King of the castle - Alex Salmond set to move into tower of power". The Daily Record. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 

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