Riddle's Close

Known as Bailie McMorran’s House or the Grand Tenement there has been a building on this site since the mid I6th Century. Previous buildings were laid to waste in the Rough Wooing of the 1540s.

It was a private, high status dwelling built by the wealthy merchant and civic burgess, John McMorran around 1590.

An unusual, external ‘pentice’ stair is fixed to the north face of the building. This is a replica of the original fitted to the building in the 1890s following a period of improvement works to the external court by Patrick Geddes in 1893. Geddes and his architects removed at last two fore tenements to the east and west of the external courtyard. This approach was known as ‘opening out’ to allow natural light and ventilation into what would have been squalid residential space in the late 19th century.

The plaster shield, above the entrance to the inner pend, is a replica of the one which Geddes would have commissioned when he created University Hall at Riddle’s Court in 1890. The motto, Vivendo Discimus - By Living We Learn, carved into the arch of the pend, is ascribed to Geddes himself.

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