In the space of 47 years, a large part of Edinburgh’s city centre has changed not once but twice.
The area of Leith Street, St James Square and Greenside have managed to survive in name but the area is virtually unrecognisable to anyone over the age of 50.
Fairley’s Dance Hall, John Colliers, Burton’s, Hoy’s furniture store, The Top Story Club, The Register Tap bar and Jeromes photo studio are among some of the fondly remembered establishments to those of a certain generation.
Part of the first development of the St James Square area included New St Andrews House, completed in 1970 and occupied for the first time in 1974 by the former Scottish Office. It closed during 1995-96 and remained empty, partly due to the asbestos which had been used in its construction. As a concrete building in the Brutalist style, with cliff face elevations and unattractive fenestration, it faced substantial public opposition when it was first built, and continued to be a somewhat controversial development.
The St James Centre complex is now in the process of demolition as part of a £850m redevelopment consisting of new shops, a public square, 2 hotels and new residential apartments.
While the New St Andrews House building was empty and awaiting demolition, we were allowed access to take photographs including seldom seen views of Edinburgh from its unique vantage point. There are views of the inside of the building that lay empty for more years than it was actually in use.
Visit Capital Collections to see the full New St Andrews House exhibition.