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12 and 14 Main Street, Carnegie Public Library Including Railings, Gates and Boundary Wall

A Category B Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.466 / 55°27'57"N

Longitude: -4.6299 / 4°37'47"W

OS Eastings: 233835

OS Northings: 622273

OS Grid: NS338222

Mapcode National: GBR 39.XQK4

Mapcode Global: WH2PP.VWF2

Entry Name: 12 and 14 Main Street, Carnegie Public Library Including Railings, Gates and Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 10 January 1980

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 357044

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21657

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Town: Ayr

Electoral Ward: Ayr North

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Campbell Douglas and Morrison, 1893, with later alterations. 2-storey and basement, 7-bay (grouped 1-5-1) Renaissance Freestyle library. Ground and 1st floor cill courses; dividing corniced string course; eaves course; cornice; part-balustraded parapet.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: central entrance to recessed 5-bay section; pilastered, architraved doorpiece; dentilled cornice; decorative iron keystoned fanlight above; 2-leaf timber door; single window aligned above at 1st floor; 2 bipartite windows at basement to left; timber door at basement to right, infilled window openings; regular fenestration to remaining bays at ground and 1st floor; circular flower roundels to aprons of 1st floor windows; semi-octagonal piers dividing bays at ground floor, carry Doric columns dividing bays at 1st floor; upper arcade of elliptical arches; inscription panels read 'History', 'Science', 'Poetry', 'Travel', 'Fiction'; 'Carnegie Public Library' to parapet above, balustrades flanking. Advanced bays to outer left and right; 2-leaf timber basement opening to outer right; 3 single windows at ground floor; tripartite windows at 1st floor; keystoned elliptical-arched tympanums read 'Theology' to left, 'Philosophy' to right; flower roundels flanking; segmental-headed detail to dies at outer sections of parapet aligned above.

Timber windows. Grey slate roof; wallhead stacks; circular cans.

INTERIOR: tiled entrance porch. Corniced ceiling; composite order columns to entrance lobby and reading rooms; timber staircase; stained glass stair window by Stephen Adam & Co of Glasgow.

RAILINGS, GATES AND BOUNDARY WALL: stepped boundary wall to entrance elevation; ironwork between enclosing basement; iron gates to outer right and left.

Statement of Interest

Invited as a speaker in the library lecture programme of 1890, Mr Carnegie, the American millionaire, wrote in reply that whilst he could not attend,

"if the town were now disposed to adopt the Free Libraries Act, I should like very much to help it get a suitable library building". (Leach, p80). Following correspondence, Mr Carnegie's offer became a firm one of contributing ?10,000 for a building, with the Act adopted. The design of the building was the subject of a competition, for which ten sets of plans were lodged. Sent to Mr Carnegie for final approval, Campbell Douglas and Morrison's plans were accepted, with the addendum ... it might be an improvement if the little tower on top of the building were done away with." (Leach, p81). It was, and the building opened on the 2 September 1893, with the first librarian being George Phillips, librarian of the Public Library, for the previous three years.

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