Jenners is a grand department store located on Princes Street – Edinburgh’s principal retail boulevard – and within the city's UNESCO World Heritage listed New Town. Founded in 1838, it is one of the oldest department stores in the world to continuously trade from the same site. The current, Category A listed building, designed by William Hamilton Beattie in a Victorian Renaissance Revival style, opened to the public in 1895 and was extended in 1903. Continued expansion in the middle of the twentieth century led to further modern additions to the original building.
Jenners is a much-loved institution in Edinburgh and Scotland, a place of many shared and personal histories. Over time however, the physical fabric of the store has declined, with many of the original features lost or altered. The proposed re-development recognises the significance and tradition of Jenners, building on the store’s heritage and envisaging a new combination of high-end retail and hospitality for Edinburgh. Together, these two uses support the reanimation of the city centre, integrating heritage with contemporary retail and hospitality.
The proposal seeks to re-establish the architectural quality of the original building. It involves the sensitive restoration of important surviving features and the reinstatement of lost original elements. The careful insertion of new infrastructure and circulation brings clarity to the most significant spaces and defines a new route from Princes Street to St Andrew Square. New shopfronts throughout and a new three-storey façade on the 1960s designed Princes Street extension, as well as the 1970s designed Rose Street extension, strengthen Jenners’ civic presence in the city.
At the heart of the building, and the most significant space within Jenners, is the central atrium – a three-storey, top-lit grand saloon that is central to the experience of visiting the store. This saloon will be restored to its former splendour as a unique public space that is integral to both the department store and the hotel.