Old Observatory House

Old Observatory House

 
Old Observatory House with its Gothic Tower built by James Craig, architect of the New Town, between 1776 and 1793. Old Observatory House is the most outstanding example of the very few remaining buildings by designed by Craig.
 
In 1788 the Council opened the ‘New Observatory’ in Observatory House. A fascinating feature on the third floor is the domed room where the rails still exist, embedded in the wall which enabled the dome to rotate.
 
In 1811 the Astronomical Society was formed and they took over the lease. They replaced the octagonal observatory with the present design by William Playfair in 1818.
 
The Astronomical Society adapted Old Observatory House as a popular observatory and Camera Obscura.
 
Due to the city smog the observatory was moved to its present home on the Braid Hills in 1896.
 
Camera Obscura also moved to it’s current location on Castle Hill on the Royal Mile.
 
The compound was returned to the city council who renamed it the City Observatory.
 
In 2009 the City of Edinburgh Council carried out extensive repairs on the building. Vivat Trust recently took over the lease and now let out the property as holiday accommodation.