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Latitude: 54.7591 / 54°45'32"N
Longitude: -4.5829 / 4°34'58"W
OS Eastings: 233898
OS Northings: 543523
OS Grid: NX338435
Mapcode National: GBR HJ14.5J0
Mapcode Global: WH3VB.KMWY
Entry Name: 2 Commercial Street, excluding 20th century extensions and detached outbuilding to rear, Port William
Listing Date: 17 December 1979
Last Amended: 11 March 2016
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 353969
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19575
Building Class: Cultural
County: Dumfries and Galloway
Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West
Traditional County: Wigtownshire
The roughly rectangular plan building has 3 wide bays (4-bays at ground floor) with asymmetrically arranged openings. The building is rendered (coursed rubble at the ground level and brick at the 1st floor) with painted margins to the door and windows. There are smaller, windows of varying size at the ground floor and projecting cills to the windows at the 1st floor.
The principal (north) elevation has a 2-leaf timber panelled door to the left of centre and a fanlight; there is a semicircular panel above the door (probably early 20th century).
The east elevation is gabled to the right, with a timber gate adjoined. There is a window to left at the 1st floor. The west elevation has an offset chimney breast and there is a rendered brick wall to the left. The rear (south) elevation has a full height gabled jamb to the right, and a single storey gabled jamb at centre; both are fronted by further lean-to additions to the south dating to the early and late 20th century.
Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows throughout. Red sandstone coped skews. Slated roof with rendered gablehead chimneystacks to the east, west and south, with ridge chimneystacks to the west of centre of main roof, all with octagonal cans.
The interior was seen in 2015 and has some 19th century detailing including a tiled floor to the entrance vestibule, a decorative painted iron balustrade and a timber handrail to the stair, moulded timber architraves and some window shutters.
In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the single storey 20th century extensions and the late 19th century detached outbuilding to the rear.
The former Commercial Hotel dating to the late 18th and 19th century is a good surviving example of a commercial inn and groups well with buildings of similar date within the context of this rural planned village. The plan form is typical for its building type. While the property has been incrementally altered from its previous use as an inn and public house to become a private dwelling, its street elevation is largely intact.
The building is built of coursed rubble at the ground and predominantly brick at the later first floor. There are some architectural features which are typical of the late 18th and early 19th century such as the widely spaced, smaller window openings at the ground floor.
The building was constructed sometime between 1770 and 1800. The port of Port William appears on John Ainslie's map of 1789, however buildings are not evident due to the map scale. The street known today as Commercial Street is first depicted on John Ainslie's map of southern Scotland of 1821, however the building first appears on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1848 and published 1850), labelled as the Ship Inn and Post Office. The Ordnance Survey name book (of 1845-49) notes that this building was one of four inns in the town, it was one storey high and slated. The building was therefore a second storey was likely added after this date.
The improvement in road communications and travel infrastructure in Scotland from the mid-18th century gradually increased the number of available inns. For Port William this, and the construction of the new harbour, increased the travel trade from labourers visiting the area and would have necessitated the establishment of inns for their accommodation. Many inns around this time were recorded to have included a commercial room, a parlour, bedrooms and stabling. It is unclear whether the commercial room was a requirement for the inns of the time, however according to D Walker (in Scottish Life and Society: A compendium of Scottish Ethnology, 2003), this feature was present in 'nearly all nineteenth and earlier twentieth century hotels, enabling coachmen and travelling servants to dine separately. It also catered for commercial travellers, tradesmen and passing trade, with the title 'Commercial Hotel' becoming a common indicator of premises specialising exclusively in that type of business at moderate charges by the mid nineteenth century.' (Walker, p133) Walker also notes that in the countryside, the inn-keeper was often also the farmer, blacksmith and postmaster (see p139), as is the case at the former Commercial Inn in Port William.
Port William is a village situated on the east shore of Luce Bay. It was founded in around 1770 by Sir William Maxwell of Monreith, to whom it owes its name. At the time of the first Statistical Account in 1791-99, the village consisted mostly of rows of single storey houses, 'well built, covered with slate, and fronting the sea.' (OSA, Vol XVII, p561). The harbour was constructed around this time, owing to the abundance and variety of fish in the bay, as well as kelp, which was carried and sold to the English market. As one of the largest landowners in Mochrum Parish in the late 18th century, Sir William Maxwell carried out extensive improvements on his estate in the late 18th and early 19th century. The population increase to the area at this time is largely due to these improvements. Port William was the principal village and the only sea port of the parish in the 19th century.
While there were previously 4 inns in Port William, the Monreith Arms is the only other hotel in Port William (listed at category C - LB19592). The building at 2 Commercial Street was in use as a public house and hotel up until circa 2004, and was formerly called the Commercial Hotel.
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Port William, 2 Commercial Street, Commercial Hotel'.
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