Rotunda – New Register House

Typically for Edinburgh, “New” Register House is not very new at all – built around 1860. It is called “New” to distinguish it from the earlier plain old “Register House” next door, designed by Robert Adam.



New Register House contains registers of events – births, deaths and marriages, going back as far as 1553. Here you can take a look at the marriage banns of Mary Queen of Scots and the death certificate of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Embedded in the building, and sitting behind are magnificent rotunda housing the records.


I’m not entirely sure of the rationale behind the design, but the rotunda appears to be in good light, whilst keeping the books around the circumference galleries in almost darkness. So maybe it is a book preservation thing.



The records themselves are collected in volumes which happen to be colour coded.


So what can we take away from this:
1. Book rooms are usually nicer darker and lit artificially.
2. In interiors you still see a lot of ordering of books into colours. I’m ok with it, if it’s a question of ordering all orange Penguins, blue Penguins since this is also sorting like subjects together. I’m less ok with it when it’s an effect and little regard is shown for the books other than colour. My preference is for a book wall of mixed colours.


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