Basic Site Details

Name: St James Centre and Government Offices
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: Cost in excess of 6m. (Cost given in RIBA directory 1975 10m).

Planned to include a 7-9 storey, new Government office, the largest department store in Scotland for John Lewis Partnership, a 156-bed hotel for Scottish and Newcastle, 80 shop units and a 600 multi-storey car park

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 2Office  
Item 2 of 2Shopping centre  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 2Leith Street  
Item 2 of 2St James Square  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 12 1969Destruction/demolitionSite largely cleared and ready for construction for certain parts of the scheme
Item 2 of 127 November 1957 ProposedProject proposed by Bruce Russell (Town Councillor), and Bailie Hunter. Both put forward a motion asking the Planning Committee to consider proceeding with the development scheme of St James Square site (Peacock, 1978)
Item 3 of 127 December 1959 Proposed'the big five' - the town clerk, city chamberlain, town planning officer, city engineer and city assessor all strongly behind the development
Item 4 of 1216 December 1960 Proposed800 unfit houses to be replaced by a major shopping and business centre including office, hotel and shops and new road system per Builder p1150
Item 5 of 12November 1967(?) ProposedGovernment office proposal discussed.
Item 6 of 12January 1968 ProposedJohn Lewis Partnership, London sought permission for erection of ₤3m, 5-storey block in St. James development to include departmental store and supermarket.
Item 7 of 1213 September 1968 * Alterations and additions1.5m, 6- storey hotel, sponsored by Scotish and Newcastle Breweries Ltd, per Building, 13th September 1968, p187
Item 8 of 121969 Build/construction 
Item 9 of 1220 June 1969 ProposedJohn Lewis Department Store proposed. Planning permission sought for 6-storey store to form one corner of the whole development
Item 10 of 121970 Completion 
Item 11 of 121984 Alterations and additionsProposal to extend the building
Item 12 of 12November 2004 ProposedProposed demolition of the entire St James Centre complex.

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 15Ian Hunter & Partners C  Consulting Mechanical and Electrical Engineers
Item 2 of 15Ove Arup & PartnersEngineerC  Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers
Item 3 of 15Burke Martin Partnership (or Ian Burke, Hugh Martin & Partners)Architectural practiceA19641969Completed by Hugh Martin after practice split in 1969
Item 4 of 15Ian David BurkeArchitectA19641969Completed by Hugh Martin after practice split in 1969
Item 5 of 15Hugh Harold Martin A/B19641970 
Item 6 of 15Ian Gordon CookArchitectA/B19681970Working for Burke Martin Partnership and latterly Hugh Martin & Partners
Item 7 of 15Hugh Martin & PartnersArchitectural practiceB19691970Completion after split of Burke Martin Partnership
Item 8 of 15George McIntosh KeithArchitectB1970 Completion
Item 9 of 15Robert Leiper B1970 Completion
Item 10 of 15Ronald ('Ron') Scott SutherlandArchitectB1970 Completion
Item 11 of 15William Lamond GallowayArchitectB1970 Completion
Item 12 of 15Andrew MerryleesArchitectC1984 Proposal to extend building
Item 13 of 15James BeveridgeArchitectC1984 Proposal to extend building
Item 14 of 15John Marnoch LeggeArchitectC1984  
Item 15 of 15Sir Basil Spence, Glover & Ferguson C1984 Proposal to extend the building


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 2Ministry of Public Building and Workssponsors
Item 2 of 2Murrayfield Real Estate Co. Ltdsponsors


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 5Gifford, John, McWilliam, Colin and Walker, David M1984Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland) Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltdp328-329
Item 2 of 5Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p557
Item 3 of 5Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp33 Photograph of St James Centre under construction
Item 4 of 5Princeton Arch Staff1995Rassegna 64: Edinburgh Princeton Architectural Presspg 65 Richard Murphy "Edinburgh: The Potential"
Item 5 of 5RIBA1975RIBA Directory of practices   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Builder16 December 1960  'Big Edinburgh Development Planned' p1150
Item 2 of 7Builder25 June 1965  p1421
Item 3 of 7Building17 November 1967  p176
Item 4 of 7Building20 June 1969  p25/98 Illustrations of John Lewis store
Item 5 of 7Building11 July 1969  p28/118
Item 6 of 7Edinburgh Evening News3 July 1998  p13
Item 7 of 7Edinburgh Evening News15 November 2004   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 1Sent to DSA by emailInformation from AHRC/RCAHMS Spence project per David W Walker and Clive Fenton Clive Fenton's research notes (sent July 2010): information on Ian Cook's involvement.