Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh (Old Town)

Vivendo Discimus-By Living We Learn: Creating The Patrick Geddes Centre for Learning and Conservation at Riddle's Court.

The Project

Riddle’s Court is a unique survival: an A-listed 16th Century courtyard house set behind the Royal Mile close to Edinburgh Castle.  The property contains significant architectural features documenting its 400 year history including a rare late 16th Century painted beam ceiling, an early 17th Century plaster ceiling and a late 19th Century ceiling by TK Bonnar. 

Over the centuries the building has been a merchant's house, a venue for a banquet held by King James VI, aristocratic apartments, overcrowded tenements, a Mechanics Subscription Library, a University Hall developed by Patrick Geddes, emergency post-war housing, a Community Learning Centre, and an Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue. 

Many aristocratic, influential and creative people have lived or been associated with this building including King James VI, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, Sir David Hume and Sir Patrick Geddes.  As a Fringe Festival venue Riddle’s Court has helped put artists centre stage early on in their careers including Stephen Fry and Maggie Smith. 

 It is this architectural and historic legacy that we want to use to inspire the next generation of great thinkers, creators and citizens.

To create The Patrick Geddes Centre for Learning and Conservation we will undertake major repair works to the building, conserve its significant architectural features and improve public access and facilities.

We shall also develop with our partners an extensive learning and conservation programme to be delivered from the new centre, based on the educational ethos evolved from Geddes Vivendo Discimus - By Living We Learn.

Riddle's Court is currently under restoration therfore closed to the public.


To find out more please download our Patrick Geddes Centre project leaflet.

To support The Patrick Geddes Centre for Learning and Conservation project please click here and visit our support page or make an online donation now.  Alternatively if you wish to do so via our Patrick Geddes Library campaign please do so via our latest news page.

Project Cost:

£5.7 million

Project Funding to date:

£5.3 million (93%)

Key funders to date:

Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Architectural Heritage Fund, The Monument Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, The Binks Trust, The Dunard Trust, The Dalrymple Donaldson Trust, The Portrack Charitable Trust, The William Syson Trust.

Project Programme:

Anticipated site start: Summer 2015

Site completion: Early 2017

Edinburgh World Heritage - House Histories

Click the links below to listen to mp3 podcasts of Riddles Court:







Project Sheet



Copyright SHBT 2012