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County Office, Mar Street, Alloa

A Category B Listed Building in Alloa, Clackmannanshire

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Latitude: 56.1161 / 56°6'57"N

Longitude: -3.7939 / 3°47'38"W

OS Eastings: 288553

OS Northings: 692932

OS Grid: NS885929

Mapcode National: GBR 1J.LRN6

Mapcode Global: WH5QD.PJKP

Plus Code: 9C8R4684+CC

Entry Name: County Office, Mar Street, Alloa

Listing Name: Ochil House Marshill and Mar Street

Listing Date: 12 June 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356185

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20975

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Alloa

County: Clackmannanshire

Town: Alloa

Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire South

Traditional County: Clackmannanshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Ochil House was built 1806 as a 2-storey (3-storey at rear), 3-bay, rectangular plan, plain, classical style former inn. In 1844 it became the county offices and court house and 1882 the offices for the adjacent drill hall (now demolished). The building was altered by Colin Machin in 1993. The principal (north) elevation is droved ashlar with a base course, cill course, moulded eaves course and blocking course. The side elevations are squared and snecked rubble and rough rubble to the rear elevation.

The principal elevation has an advanced central entrance bay with a pediment containing a sculptured plough and with a coped chimney stack at the apex. Steps lead up to the entrance which is deeply recessed in a cavetto splayed doorway.

The windows have a 12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case frames. The roof is pitched with grey slates and there are wide corniced end stacks with short yellow clay cans.

To the west is a boundary wall with a droved ashlar semi-elliptical arch, possibly dating from the 1840s, surmounted by a stone inscribed '1st C & KRV Drill Hall 1882' and an early 19th century rubble boundary wall beyond.

The interior, seen in July 2015, is largely 20th century in detail with interior walls rearranged although the early 19th century U-plan stair at the rear of the building remains in place.

Statement of Interest

Ochil House was built in 1806 and opened for business as the Tontine Inn in 1807. It is designed in a simple classical style with an advanced central pediment and moulded doorcase. Although the building has had a variety of different uses the external appearance of the building is largely unaltered and map evidence confirms that the footprint of the main part of the building remains unchanged. It is situated on a prominent site in central Alloa on what was originally the main road between Fife and Stirling.

In 1807 a newspaper advertisement records that Malcolm Wright, who was probably the first proprietor of the Tontine Inn, 'begs leave to solicit the favour of the public' and that the inn is 'very commodious and well fitted up in every respect'. The date is confirmed by the fact that when the building was sold by public roup in 1829, it was stated that it was built 'upwards of twenty years ago'. The Tontine Inn was almost certainly reconstructed from an earlier inn called the Plough Inn, hence the sculpted plough in the pediment. Early descriptions of the Tontine Inn show that the accommodation consisted of a spacious dining room and large travellers' room on the ground floor, a dining parlour on the first floor and seven bedrooms on the second floor with a kitchen and laundry and other service rooms in the basement. A separate stable block and other offices were located against the perimeter wall to the west while there was a bowling green and garden to the south.

In 1844 the building became the county offices and court house with a series of prison cells in an extension to the west. The large dining room on the ground floor became the courtroom. The archway in the perimeter wall may date from this time. When the new courthouse was erected nearby on Mar Street in 1863-65 (LB20970), the building continued to function as a prison with direct access to the court below Mar Street. In 1882 the building was acquired as offices for the 1st Clackmannan and Kinross Rifle Volunteers at which time a large drill hall was erected at the southwest and the initials of this regiment appeared above the archway to the west of the building. The prison cells were demolished at this time although it would seem that the old stable block, situated against the north perimeter wall, remained into the 20th century. By 1914 the building was the drill station for 'B' Squadron of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and a base for 'E' and 'H' Companies, 7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. During the later 20th century, the building variously served as offices for the social work department in the 1970s, premises for small businesses and since the 1993 the offices of Ochil View Housing Association. During the 1990s the drill hall was demolished.

A number of Tontine Inns were built in Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Tontine Inn in Greenock dates from 1802 while that in Peebles dates from 1808. By their very nature (with subscribers investing sums of money for their establishment and obtaining an annuity from the profits), Tontines were middle and upper class in character. They provided good quality accommodation and food for travellers which was not always readily available in Scotland at this period. Only a handful of Tontines survive.

Listing building record (non-statutory information) revised in 2016 as part of the Drill Halls Listing Review 2015-16.

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