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View House, Doonfoot Road, Including Boundary Wall, Gate and Gatepiers, Ayr

A Category C Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4481 / 55°26'53"N

Longitude: -4.6395 / 4°38'22"W

OS Eastings: 233155

OS Northings: 620304

OS Grid: NS331203

Mapcode National: GBR 39.YVRK

Mapcode Global: WH2PW.PBX8

Entry Name: View House, Doonfoot Road, Including Boundary Wall, Gate and Gatepiers, Ayr

Listing Date: 10 January 1980

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356914

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21568

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Town: Ayr

Electoral Ward: Ayr West

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

1867 James McDerment. 2-storey, 8-bay near rectangular-plan, symmetrical building forming part of the former Ayr racecourse, housing changing rooms and residential flat with classical detailing to the Street (north-west) elevation. The building is of coursed sandstone rubble with harl to the rear and raised margins. There is a base course, band course and overhanging eaves with timber detailing. Former central round-arched entrance to street elevation with dentilled rusticated doorway (currently a window).

There is a piended, grey slated roof with coped ridge stacks. The windows are predominantly 4-over 4-pane timber sash and case.

The interior was partially seen in 2014. There are changing rooms to the upper floors and a single common room and a residential flat.

There is a coped, rubble boundary wall to the street elevation with a pair of pyramidal-capped gatepiers and a decorative metal gate.

Statement of Interest

View House dates to 1867 and is by the local Ayr architect James McDerment (1828-1883). It was built to provide the changing rooms and viewing terraces for the former Ayr racecourse and is one of the earliest surviving purpose-built buildings associated with horse racing. The building has some good classical decorative detailing to the front elevation and is a significant addition to the streetscape of this area of Ayr. It retains its open aspect to the rear, overlooking the former racecourse (now a golf course and park). View House contains changing rooms and a residential flat (2014).

View House was built to provide facilities for the original Ayr racecourse, which was at this site. Close and Riches (2012) note that the building originally contained refreshment rooms, with rooms for jockeys and reporters on the ground floor and a ladies' room and a smoking room above. A photograph (undated, but showing the building in use (Kennedy, 1992) shows the building with open terracing to the rear and open ventilation to the upper part of the side elevations. The terraces are no longer extant. The 1957 Ordnance Survey Map indicates that the terraces had gone by this date, by which time the building served as a clubhouse for the golf course, established on the site of the Old Racecourse. A rounded projecting stair tower has also been added.

The earliest recorded horse race at this particular site was in 1775 and the racing became increasingly popular over the 19th century. The racing continued at this site until the early 20th century, when the current Ayr racecourse was built in 1907 on a new site some 2 km to the north-east. There was an earlier View House to the west of this one, which was built in 1787. This no longer exists.

Horse racing has a long history in Scotland, dating back to the 16th century. Many of these early races were held at rural country fairs and all levels of people within society were involved. During the 19th and early 20th century, there was gradually more standardisation of racing and courses over the country. In 1869, Ayr was one of 11 racecourses in Scotland (Haynes p75). Many courses closed and fewer races were run.

Listed building record updated, (2014).

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