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Latitude: 55.8666 / 55°51'59"N
Longitude: -3.9806 / 3°58'50"W
OS Eastings: 276150
OS Northings: 665488
OS Grid: NS761654
Mapcode National: GBR 00NL.0T
Mapcode Global: WH4QB.TSNY
Entry Name: Bank Street, the Townhouse
Listing Date: 4 March 1971
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 356131
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20926
Building Class: Cultural
County: North Lanarkshire
Electoral Ward: Airdrie Central
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
Alexander Baird, 1826. 2-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, symmetrical classical town-house with entrance tower. Yellow sandstone ashlar to principal elevation, channelled at ground floor, harled to sides and rear. Base course, slightly raised eaves course, plain projecting cornice, blocking course.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: regular fenestration, cavetto moulded architraves to windows, projecting cills and projecting lintels to 1st floor, full-height pilasters to outer bays, coped blocks breaking eaves. Slightly advanced, 6-stage square-plan, entrance tower to centre, projecting cornices between stages; central doorway framed by paired engaged Tuscan columns on raised plinths supporting projecting entablature, single window over entrance to 2nd stage; triple stepped 3rd stage; engaged Tuscan columns to corners of 4th stage, pedimented windows to centre; 2-steps to 5th stage, pilasters to chamfered corners, clock-faces within square surrounds; semicircular arched openings to 6th stage belfry, flanking columns supporting entablatures; copper, octagonal spire.
E (REAR) ELEVATIONS: 1948. 2-storey, 5-bay, rectangular plan addition. Harled, regular fenestration with projecting margins.
N (SIDE) ELEVATION: 5-bay, regular fenestration, projecting margins to windows.
S (SIDE) ELEVATION: mirror of N.
12-pane sash and case windows. Hipped roof, grey slates, lead flashing. Coped wallhead stacks.
INTERIOR: modern office interiors.
The decision to build 'a small Town House and a jail' in Airdrie was taken in 1822, a year after the town had become a burgh of barony. Previously, courts and council meetings had been held in the Masonic lodge. Following a dispute between the Town Council and local Heritors regarding the site first proposed, the present building was begun in June 1825 and completed eighteen months later to the design of Baird, the burgh treasurer. His plans were chosen preference to those of George Waddell, a former councillor, and the contract for ?1075 was awarded to James Orr, who was also a member of the council as were the three unsuccessful tenders. To celebrate the official opening of the town-house the town crier, George Gentles, was provided with a new blue coat with red collar. A further public subscription allowed the addition in 1828 of a bell cast by Stephen Miller, Glasgow, and a clock which was replaced in 1954. A new council chamber was added to the rear of the building in 1948, doubling the depth. When built the town-house had a police office and cells on the ground and a court-room, also used as the council-chamber, on the first floor. Few original internal features survive since both floors have undergone extensive reworking from the late nineteenth century onwards. The town-house has also served as a cholera hospital and barracks and in 1854 the Fiscal's room was shelved to allow its use as Scotland's first free library, later moved to form Airdrie Carnegie Public Library later in the nineteenth century, itself superseded by the present library in 1924 (see separate listing). Baird went into partnership in an architectural practice with George Arthur in 1871, Arthur took over the practice in 1884 as "Mr Baird by then being much involved with the coal trade" to become Airdrie's leading architect in the late nineteenth century.
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