City Chambers

Historic Building in Old Town

The imposing Georgian City Chambers, home to the City of Edinburgh Council, were originally built by John Adam (brother of Robert) between 1753 and 1761 to serve as the Royal Exchange – a covered meeting place for city merchants – replacing the traditional meeting place of the Mercat Cross. However, the merchants preferred their old stamping ground in the street and the building became the offices of the city council in 1811.

Though only four storeys high on the Royal Mile side, the building plummets 12 storeys on the northern side, overlooking Cockburn St. The chambers were built over the sealed-off remains of three Old Town closes; the spooky remnants of these can be explored on a guided tour of the Real Mary King's Close.