Law School returning to Old College November 2018

We are excited to announce that we are officially returning to the newly refurbished home at Old College from the end of November 2018.

The Law School will begin the move back to Old College from 28th November, with professional service offices and academics moving first. The Law Library will move in early January.


  • 28 November – Law School move to Old College commences
  • Friday 7 December – Academic and professional service office moves conclude
  • Monday 10 December: Undergraduate examinations week begins
  • Thursday 3 January 2019: Law Library move commences
  • Monday 14 January 2019: Law Library in Old College opens


To ensure there is no disruption to library services during the December exam diet, the Law Library will commence its move in January 2019.

Key dates

  • Thursday 3 January 2019 – Law Library move begins. The Law Library in the DHT will be open as normal between the 3rd and 10th January
  • During the move the Law Library in DHT opening hours will be:
    – Thursday 3 – Friday 4 January: 9 am – 5 pm
    – Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 January: Law Library closed as is normal for this time of year
    – Monday 7 – Thursday 10 January: 9 am – 8 pm
    – Friday 11 January: 9 am – 4 pm
    – Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January: Law Library closed
  • Monday 14 January – Law Library in Old College opens at 9am with normal semester opening hours


We hope you are as excited as we are about returning to Old College and want you to make the most of the fantastic facilities. Maps of the building will be available from the Old College Reception.

Please be aware that although Old College will be open from 28 November and Law School staff will be moving in to their offices, there will still be a lot of work going on with movers and contractors finishing snagging work on the building, so please only visit the building if absolutely necessary until the move is complete and teaching commences in January.

The Law School will be holding scheduled tours of the facilities in the New Year. We will publish these dates shortly.

We have created a short video as a reminder of the fantastic facilities the refurbished Old College will provide for the Law School on our return. We can’t wait to welcome back to our home.

Return to Old College: Update

The University’s Estates department has notified the Law School that the return to Old College, scheduled to take place this month, will no longer be possible. A number of issues that need to be resolved by the Main Contractor in order for the building to receive an occupation certificate from the Council will not be resolved in time, meaning there is no option other than to delay the School’s return to Old College. The move is now expected to recommence at the end of semester 1 in the 2018/19 academic year.

The news is disappointing to all and we would like to reassure our staff, students, alumni and visitors that we expect to return to Old College at the end of semester 1. It is anticipated that from the start of semester 2 we will all be able to enjoy and benefit from the outstanding environment and facilities the refurbished building will provide, including:

  • A new Law Library
  • New teaching spaces
  • New study spaces
  • A new café and social spaces.

The Law School, including the Law Library, will remain in David Hume Tower until the move preparations recommence towards the end of semester 1. Full access to the Law Library will continue to be available at all times to all staff, students and alumni.

If you have any queries about the return to Old College please email

Up and Adam: The New Old College Lecture Theatre

The Adam Lecture Theatre, named for the Scottish neoclassical architect Robert Adam (1728-1792) is finally beginning to take shape. Please enjoy some of the shots taken from inside the building. These photographs provide a great insight into how the building is beginning to realise its full potential as a rejuvenated, welcoming educational space.

These photos reveal the dome and the light it will provide to the theatre below.

Also unveiled this week was part of the north side of the building, released from the shackles of its scaffolding. Take a look at Old College beginning to shake off the scaffold in the sunshine!

We are so excited to see the rest of the building!


Time flies and construction continues!

We are about to begin our second academic year based in DHT – it’s astonishing how time is flying! It won’t be too long long now until we return to our traditional home. We in the Communications Office are getting very excited and can’t wait to see its final form.

But in the mean time, there is still an awful lot of work to be done and Graham Construction are hard at work. The scaffold and temporary roof on the original Phase 1 of Old College are starting to be moved. This roof is situated at the west end of the building.

Taking away the scaffold structure is not a fast process – it will take some time to deconstruct. Removing the temporary roof is likely to take around a month. Once the scaffolding has been taken down, it will then be moved to create the temporary roof on Phase 3, at the east end of the building. This will allow contractors to complete the structural repair works there and to install the new dormer windows.

At last we are able to see some external, visible changes. There’s an awful lot going on inside too, however, as pictures from a recent site visit will show.

The second image in the gallery shows the Senate room, featuring some beautiful period detailing with elegant grey columns and cornices. The full height of the building is revealed in the fourth image, with uncovered alcoves.

As we note the changes in the site, we start to consider our return to Old College and how best to mark this enormous development. To that end, Emilios Avgouleas has been appointed Old College Champion and we look forward to working with him as we plan our triumphant return home. Here is an insight into what used to be the Communications Office & Emilios’s office:

It certainly looks very different now! If you have any ideas about how you might like to mark this momentous move, please let us know! As ever, if you have any questions about the construction process, please contact

Sneak peek: photos of the construction in progress

Work on the Old College Law Refurbishment project began in November and the construction team have already made excellent progress. Much of the downtaking work in the Northwest of Old College has been completed and as stud walls, partitions and floors have been dismantled, so much of the original architectural design has been revealed. Hidden gems such as Georgian columns, fireplaces and archaeological gems such as 18th century graffiti have been uncovered.

Scaffolding has been erected around much of the Northwest corner and will continue to around the full length of Chambers Street and on to South Bridge, once the School has decanted in June.

We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some picture of the progress so you can join us on this exciting journey and get a feel for what the new building might look like in 2018.

View of the ongoing works to restore the original octagonal architecture of the northwest corner, which will become the octagonal bookstacks in the new library.

This is a view of the Northwest corner of the ground floor in what will be the new library octagonal bookstack spaces. This was previously the old Legal Practice Unit (for those who remember that far back) and more recently teaching spaces 164-169 and offices. Many original features have been uncovered in this area. The intention for this space is to reclaim/restore features such as cornicing and emulate the shape of the original anatomy lecture theatre (Lecture Theatre 270) in the proposed library bookstacks.

View into the octagonal room of the new Law Library

This view looks down from the first floor into what will be the new octagonal book room in the new Law Library. The space is directly under Lecture Theatre 270 and mimics the original architecture of the space.

The Senate Room in the new Law Library

This photo shows the Senate Room in the new Law Library. The columns and cornicing were fully revealed as stud walls and floors were removed. They will be sensitively restored and painted in colours used in the original building.

18th century grafitti found engraved into a fireplace lintel

These engravings were found carved into stone that was reused as hearth lintel to a blocked up fireplace on the second floor. The 18th century graffiti seems to show two names ‘Will Blaine’ and ‘I.A. Elphinstone’ and the date May Day 1722 – 67 years before the foundation stone of Old College was laid.

View of the new first floor teaching corridor, which creates an open circulation route along the length of the building.

This photo shows the new openings within cross walls, in what was part of the Law School library on the first floor. This will create a continuous corridor, improving horizontal circulation within the building. This is one of the main objectives of the refurbishment. The First Floor spaces will become teaching rooms with new oak teaching wall units dividing the room and the adjacent circulation space. The openings within cross walls will provide an enfilade circulation route.

Protection of the original Adam staircase

The original Adam and Playfair staircases are being maintained as part of the refurbishment. Here you can see that the construction company have made all efforts to protect the staircases during the works.

View of the Southside of Edinburgh from the scaffolding.

The great view of Edinburgh’s Southside from the scaffolding over the new Law Library.

Law School to move to temporary location in 3 months

As part of the new schedule for the refurbishment of Old College, the entire Law School currently based in the building will be temporarily relocated to the David Hume Tower on 20th June 2016.

This move will allow for contractors, Graham Construction, to focus on the refurbishment in its entirety, rather that the originally planned phased upgrade. It is hoped that this will result in a completion date of December 2017, with the Law School moving back in to Old College in January 2018, a whole two years ahead of the original schedule.

The relocation will start the week commencing 6th June with the Law Library. A staggered move for the library will allow for some service to be continually provided during this time. The remaining offices will then be relocated over the week of the 20th June with a complete exit date of 27th June.

The Law School’s temporary home is based at the centre of Humanities and Social Sciences in the University’s George Square campus, only a few minutes walk from Old College. It will continue to provide the Law Library, teaching and study spaces for students, and office space for the majority of Law School staff and administration. To find the location of the David Hume Tower please visit the University of Edinburgh maps webpage.

Regular updates will be issued during the move and we hope that there will be as little inconvenience and disruption as possible to students, staff and visitors during this time.

GRAHAM Construction appointed to Old College Refurbishment project

The University has appointed GRAHAM Construction to undertake phases one to three of the Old College Refurbishment project, following a competitive tender process.

This highly experienced construction firm has previously undertaken significant buildings projects at the University, including the Centre for Carbon Innovation.

The contractors will be on site to begin work from 23rd November.

Work on the north side of Old College has been scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.

The Law School, including the library, is to relocate to David Hume Tower, to allow this work to take place with the minimum of disruption. The new building will reopen in January 2018. Work to the south-west basement will then follow.

Staff and students will be kept up to date regularly throughout the process.

Find out more about Graham Construction.

Staff sample new academic office design

Architects have created a replica of an academic’s office to give staff a taster of how the new office space will look in the refurbished Old College building.

The design will give all academic offices a full wall of shelving with under-lighting, as well as a second optional set of built-in shelves.

Staff have been invited to view the room and experience the look and feel of the new space.

Wall colour has yet to be decided but a colour workshop will be taking place soon to help select the most appropriate shade. You can view the potential colour choices as part of the tour.

Please also note that the desk and chairs used in the sample room are not final furniture selections. Final decisions are still to be made regarding furniture selection.


The new academic year brings exciting changes

This week sees new and returning students come back to the Law School to start or continue their studies.

This year will also bring about the first phase of construction for our keenly anticipated Old College refurbishment project.

We will be announcing which contractors have been appointed to carry out the refurbishment work at the end of October and will expect to see them on site in November.

We will also be starting to make decisions about colour and furniture, so we are edging closer to being able to visualise what our new home will look and feel like, and it’s all becoming very exciting.

Stay tuned for updates and insights about the project.