HES Archives and Library

John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX

0131 651 6872


Step inside the HES Archives and Library in Edinburgh and explore Scotland's past through over five million historic photographs, drawings and more.

Our extensive archive in Edinburgh spans a whole range of buildings, archaeological monuments and industrial and maritime sites, giving unparalleled insight into Scotland’s stories.

The archives – compiled and managed by HES – first began in 1908. Today, we hold more than five million items and continue to record all aspects of the historic environment.

What to see and do

  • Discover information about Scotland's places through documents and books
  • Browse architects’ drawings, historic photographs or excavation archives
  • Trace our changing landscape through historic and modern maps and photographs
  • Consult the National Collection of Aerial Photography - advance bookings are required
  • Access online resources such as Canmore and Scran 

Opening times

Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 4pm

Advance booking required.


Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Plan your visit

More than 20 of our sites are now open. Please book your tickets in advance.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

Learning visits

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.