History in Structure

Gardyne's Land, 70, 71 High Street, Dundee

A Category A Listed Building in Dundee, Dundee

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Latitude: 56.461 / 56°27'39"N

Longitude: -2.9698 / 2°58'11"W

OS Eastings: 340335

OS Northings: 730292

OS Grid: NO403302

Mapcode National: GBR Z9Y.BB

Mapcode Global: WH7RB.CV1T

Plus Code: 9C8VF26J+93

Entry Name: Gardyne's Land, 70, 71 High Street, Dundee

Listing Name: 70-73 (Inclusive Nos) High Street, Including Gardyne's Land, Gray's Close and Clock with Model of the Town House

Listing Date: 4 February 1965

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 361426

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB25239

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: 70-73 High Street, Dundee

ID on this website: 200361426

Location: Dundee

County: Dundee

Town: Dundee

Electoral Ward: Maryfield

Traditional County: Angus

Tagged with: Commercial building Merchant's house

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1560. Rare early domestic survival at heart of Dundee; High Street fa├žade altered (concealing original timber front) and wallhead heightened early 18th century, few subsequent alterations; 2004-07 restoration by Tayside Buildings Preservation Trust, with Simpson and Brown project architect and Brown Construction principal contractor. 4-storey and double attic, 6-bay merchant's house, with modern ground floor shopfronts, centre shaped gable with wallhead stack and 1932 commemorative clock with model of old town house moved from adjacent building 2006, off-centre pend leading to Gardyne's Land at rear with bowed stair turret corbelled out over ground floor, 2nd floor corbel course and some jettied bays at 2nd and 3rd floors. Limewashed harl. Relieving arches, stepped hoodmould. Chamfered and roll-moulded arrises.


GARDYNE'S LAND TO REAR: stepped, rectangular-plan block adjoining 2-bay link to rear of High Street block on E side of Gray's Close, with possible former principal entrance in small courtyard (now covered with conservatory-type roof). Monumental 4-bay W gable (fronting Gray's Close) incorporating chamfered windows at ground, roll-moulded with relieving arches at upper floors. Centre ground floor door with stepped hoodmould and lintel carved '1607 AS PK' below small horizontally-aligned window and corbelled bowed stair turret (altered internally). Lower 2 floors of bay to right recessed within segmental arch. Masonry in recess above more modern. 2 bays to left set back but jettied at 2nd and 3rd floors.

12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows to High Street elevation; rear windows varied but include 18th century small-paned casements. Grey slates. Coped harled wallhead stack, and replacement brick gable end stacks.

INTERIOR: sympathetic conversion to youth hostel accommodation during 2004-07 restoration with retention of much original fabric including fireplaces, cornices, shutters and corbels (see Notes). 2 spiral stairs with solid newels. Front block: timber post and beam construction. 1st floor remodelled, working shutters and late 19th century partitions. 2nd floor remodelled but retains bolection moulded stone chimneypiece. 3rd floor; c1720 raised and fielded panelling, and classical timber-lined wall cupboard with glazed door (remodelled by Brown's from c1910 photograph) to centre apartment. Strap hinged door with wooden lock to loft. Apparently original collar rafter roof, members numbered throughout, individual wall plates at right angles to wall. Rear Block: remodelled 1887, retaining some earlier structure; 2 cast iron ranges, interior corbels to bipartite window. 19th century roof timbers.

CLOCK AND MODEL OF TOWNHOUSE: 1932 clock designed by William Wallace Friskin of Castle Street, Dundee; clock surmounted by model of William Adam's 1731 Town House. Outer face inscribed '1732 MEMORY IS TIME 1932'.

Statement of Interest

A Group with 66, 67 High Street, 68, 69 High Street and 75, 76 High Street.

Gardyne's Land is a rare example of an urban house of the late medieval period. It is the oldest known domestic building to survive within Dundee Burgh and forms a key element in the High Street, at the heart of Dundee's Central conservation area. The buildings in this group are prominent in many historic paintings and photographs of the area when the 1560 element was a little known 'hidden gem'. The conservation work undertaken on Gardyne's Land adopted a 'conserve as found' approach, resulting in minimal intrusion upon the early fabric. When work is completed (mid 2007) the building will be used as youth hostel accommodation.

The small courtyard between Gardyne's Land and the front block has evidence of a 15th century well and a number of altered doorways signalling the possibility that this was formerly the principal entrance. The variety of shape and decoration to internal corbels at the W gable facing Gray's Close, has led to speculation that these may have been apprentice pieces. During exterior renovation work, a single 'bird pot' was found high up on the tower part of Gardyne's Land, and a row of 7 similar pots to the rear of the front block. These pots, secreted behind small panels, may have been 'good luck' charms which, in medieval times, were thought to repel evil.

Built on land previously occupied by luckenbooths for John Gardyne and Elizabeth Kynnier of Balmerino in 1560, the building has also been known as Gardyne's House. It constitutes an urban tower house (thought by Dr Bruce Walker to have provided extra security against fire or civic unrest) to the rear of timber framed living quarters which fronted the High Street. The conclusive evidence of timber and post construction uncovered during the 2004-07 renovation, lends support to the theory that the High Street frontage probably included a timber-galleried shopping area at 1st floor level. A painted ceiling bearing texts from Francis Quarles Emblems (1635) was revealed on the 'underside of the flooring of the upper flat' in 1887 and deposited in the Dundee Museum. By 1870 the local preserves manufacturer, Keiller, part of the famous Dundee trio of 'jute, jam and journalism', had taken over the site and the 'jam factory' continued production until well into the 20th century.

A model of the Old Town House, very similar to that on the Clock at Gardyne's Land, is located over the door of a public house at the separately listed Crichton Buildings, 3'9 Crichton Street. This model has a tiny clock in the tower which no longer functions.

List description revised 2007.

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