Bute House

Bute House (Gaelic: Taigh Bhòid) is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, who is the head of the Scottish Government, the country's devolved government established in 1999. Prior to this it was the official residence of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

It is located at 6 Charlotte Square, in Edinburgh's new town, and is the central house on the north side of the square, designed by Robert Adam.


The land for No 6 was sold at a public roup (English: auction) in 1792 to Orlando Hart, an Edinburgh shoemaker, for £290. In 1806, Sir John Sinclair, Bart. of Ulbster, in Caithness, bought the house for £2,950.

The house was sold again in 1816 and a little over a century later, having changed hands several times, it became the property of the 4th Marquess of Bute. In 1966, the house, together with Nos 5 and 7, was conveyed to the National Trust for Scotland in lieu of duty on the estate of the 5th Marquess who had died in 1956.

Bute House is not owned by the Scottish Government, but remains in the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland, a charitable organisation dedicated to looking after historic buildings and sites of natural significance across the country. The property is also legally under the supervision of the Bute House Trustees, a group whose existence was provided for in the original Trust Deed passing ownership from the Bute family. From 1970 onwards, after the House was refurbished after its previous owners had given it and two adjoining houses to the National Trust for Scotland, Bute House became the grace-and-favour residence in Edinburgh of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the UK Government minister charged with looking after Scotland's interests in Westminster, who remained as resident in it until devolution in 1999.

It is the setting for the weekly meeting of the Scottish Government's Cabinet, which meets in what used to be the Secretary of State's study. The First Minister also greets dignitaries, and holds ministerial receptions and press conferences. Also located in the building is a private study as well as offices, kitchens and overnight accommodation. It is also where, like the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, the First Minister makes press conferences and employs and dismisses Government ministers.

Building Activity

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