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Fort Street, Ayr Academy

A Category B Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4646 / 55°27'52"N

Longitude: -4.6347 / 4°38'5"W

OS Eastings: 233526

OS Northings: 622127

OS Grid: NS335221

Mapcode National: GBR 39.XX03

Mapcode Global: WH2PP.SX54

Entry Name: Fort Street, Ayr Academy

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356955

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21582

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Town: Ayr

Electoral Ward: Ayr West

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Clarke and Bell, 1880 (main block); later additions by James A Morris include infant classrooms, 1895 and science/art department, 1907; internal reconstruction of main building 1911-12; memorial hall by William Reid, 1939. 2-storey (main block), 13-bay (main block) Academy with advanced central, pedimented entrance with asymmetrical recessed wings to outer left and right. Ravenscraig sandstone; channelled at ground floor and corner angles of outer bays at 1st floor. Base course; dividing band course; 1st floor cill course; cornice and blocking course (corner dies to parapets at outer bays). Pilasters divide 1st floor openings (Corinthian order to central pedimented entrance); consoled cornices and aprons to 1st floor windows of outer bays.

SE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 13-bays, grouped 1-4-3-4-1 with asymmetrical recessed wings to outer left and right (see below). Consoled cornice to square-headed central entrance; patera frieze; 2-leaf timber door; flanking multi-paned windows; 3 single windows at 1st floor; roundel busts over (see Notes); dentilled pediment. Regular fenestration at both floors to recessed 4 bays flanking; timber doors and multi-paned fanlights to square-headed outer entrances at ground floor. Regular fenestration at ground and 1st floor to advanced outer bays (tripartite pilastered windows at ground floor).

SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: 7-bay, grouped 2-5. Regular fenestration to bays to outer left (later section) of single and bipartite openings (2 windows only at ground floor); regular fenestration at both floors to main block section to right (flat-roofed skylight). 5-bay wing: regular fenestration of bipartite window to left, 3 windows to right to advanced section; 2-leaf timber glazed door to entrance porch in recessed bay to right; 3 single windows above (graded in size) single windows to upper floors.

SE (U-PLAN COURTYARD) ELEVATION: single windows to bay near-parallel with main block; blank gable elevation to right. 3 single windows at ground and 1st floor to recessed courtyard bay; narrow strip windows at ground and 1st floor to bowed corner angle to right. 6-bay re-entrant angle to right grouped 1-4-1; single windows at ground and 1st floor to 5 bays to left (cornices at 1st floor, advanced bay to outer left) excepting entrance to 3rd bay to left; square-headed corniced entrance; 2-leaf timber door; pyramidal finials surmounted by ball finials; smaller height window above; paired openings to recessed bay to outer right. 5-bay re-entrant angle to left grouped 3-2; regular fenestration to 3 bays of main block comprising single window and 2 tripartite windows at ground and 1st floor (cornices to 1st floor windows, additional small window to outer left at ground floor); paired small windows to 2 bays to right, excluding bay at ground to outer right; advanced corniced, square-headed doorpiece; glazed timber doors.

Variety of glazing patterns including 4-, 6-, 9-, 10-, and 15-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof; coped stacks; circular cans.

INTERIOR: main features include central hall, science/art department and memorial hall. Central hall, 1911-12: double height hall with gallery arcade; timber floor; timber rostrum; pulvinated frieze; decorative tilework; rooflights; display commemoration boards. Outstanding detailing to Science and Art Department includes timber panelled doors; dado panelling to art rooms and timber fixtures; master's observation point. Memorial hall, 1939; timber panelling; pilaster framing; square-headed proscenium (later alterations).

GATEPIERS, GATES, RAILINGS AND BOUNDARY WALL: 3 pairs of square-plan gatepiers to entrance elevation; 2-leaf iron gates; spear-headed railings atop coped boundary wall. Janitor's lodge and further classrooms situated within site.

Statement of Interest

As noted by Michael C Davis, the school is situated near the now demolished Ayr Castle. A public school dating from circa 1233 century was connected until the Reformation with St John's Church, passing thereafter under the town council's management. Reconstituted under the name of Ayr Academy in 1794, it received a royal charter in 1798. The first school standing on the present site was erected in 1810 at a cost of ?3000, the present school constructed in 1880, at a cost of ?10,000. The current main block as described by Groome measures 140 by nearly 300 feet and was designed to accommodate between 500 and 600 pupils at the time of writing (1882). The portico in the main 1800 block is adorned with medallions of Sir David Wilkie, James Watt and Robert Burns, representing Art, Science and Literature. Of particular interest, is the Science and Art Department to the N of the site, designed by the noted local architect James A Morris. Other architectural work of Morris in Ayr includes buildings in Burns Statue Square, Savoy Croft and Racecourse Road. Morris also wrote the books "The Brig of Ayr and Something of its Story" in 1912 and "The Auld Toon O' Ayr" in 1928, both published by the Ayr publishers Stephen and Pollock, extolling the town's architectural highlights.

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