The old Royal High school is positioned on a ledge on the southern slope of Calton Hill. Designed by Thomas Hamilton and opened in 1829 the building is renowned as a fine example of Greek revival architecture.
Hamilton's formal design of the old Royal High School sits in contrast to the grouping of buildings on Calton Hill including Nelson's Monument, City Observatory Buildings and the National Monument. The Old Town and the Scottish Parliament building can be seen in the foreground.
Waverley Valley with its panoramic views to the River Forth and East Lothian links the Old and New Towns with Waverley Station and the Council offices in the foreground. The imposing scale and symmetry of New St Andrew's House by Thomas Tait dominates Calton Hill from the south.
Hamilton's symmetrical design can be fully appreciated from Holyrood Park with Calton Hill as a backdrop. The building acts to extend Regent Terrace round the base of the Hill. To the foreground the views are interrupted by the rather mediocre Dumbiedykes housing.
Although a city landmark, a closer view from Regent Road gives an indication of the buildings deterioration and neglect. No consistent use has been found for the building in over 46 years. Various proposals over the years coming to nothing due to funding difficulties.
This Classic view of the building and its central portico set above Regent Road emphasises the horizontal nature of Hamilton's design and the way twin free-standing pavilions, stone walls, and terraces take up the curve in the road but act as a barrier to any form of public access.