Building Edinburgh: Dean of Guild records

The records of Edinburgh’s Dean of Guild Court provide a remarkable collection of drawings, reports and correspondence tracing the development of the capital, site by site. These provide fascinating insights, not least on the construction of the New Town.

The Old Edinburgh Club has helped to create an online database to give ready access, searchable by property address, year and applicant.

Exploring Edinburgh's progress

This is a great resource not only for built environment professionals who need access to the records for buildings still standing but also for many others.

It is rich in social history and family historians will be able to find details of a wide range of individuals, not just property owners, but tenants, neighbours and other people associated with particular locations.

The database incorporates the work of Dr Joe Rock, whom the OEC has supported since 2013 to catalogue architectural plans from 1700 to 1824. Eric Grosso provided the technical expertise in constructing the database.

The plans themselves can be viewed by arrangement with the Edinburgh City Archives in the City Chambers on the High Street.

PDF copies of Dr Rock’s earlier versions of his catalogue are available for download. Please beware that the file sizes are large. There are four parts, plus an introduction:

The missing years are being added to the database where records survive.

More recent records

Dean of Guild drawings and Building Warrant plans submitted since 1880 can be accessed directly through the City Council Building Standards Store.