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Signet Library

Door open days


The Signet Library building (Lower and Upper Libraries), begun in 1810, designed by Robert Reid, with principal interiors by William Stark, was completed in 1822, in time for King George IV's visit to Edinburgh. The libraries are linked by a triumphal staircase by William Burn with a screen by William Playfair, 1819. The Upper Library has Corinthian column capitals carved by sculptor John Steell. It has been described as a ?classical cathedral?, and by George IV as "the finest drawing room in Europe"!. The Lower Library is divided into reading bays. The west wing (Sydney Mitchell 1903), originally storage, has been redeveloped to provide more accommodation by Benjamin Tindall Architects, 1995. The building is home to The Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet (known as the WS Society), one of the founding institutions of the Scottish legal system. Today the WS Society is a thriving professional body of practising solicitors. For events enquiries, contact Events Manager Philly Nicholson 0131 220 3249 (select 2).

Key Information

Architect: Wm Stark, Robert Reid, Wm Burn, Wm Playfair

Building Date: 1813


Where to find us

  • Parliament Square
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 1RF