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Latitude: 56.0741 / 56°4'26"N
Longitude: -3.4605 / 3°27'37"W
OS Eastings: 309182
OS Northings: 687768
OS Grid: NT091877
Mapcode National: GBR 1Y.P8J0
Mapcode Global: WH5QR.TL9D
Entry Name: 46 Pilmuir Street, Carnegie Leisure Centre
Listing Date: 19 December 1979
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 362512
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB26039
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Dunfermline North
Traditional County: Fife
Hippolyte J Blanc, 1901-05; alterations and additions 1979-84 by James Parr and Partners; 1991 and further redevelopment 2007-12 by Fife Council Architectural Services. Large, single storey with attic and basement, 19-bay, Scots Renaissance public building with 2-storey gabled entrancepiece with flanking octagonal towers. Sandstone ashlar to principal (W) elevation: Base course, band courses, eaves cornice and coped parapet to principal elevation: Mullioned and transomed windows; chamfered reveals to openings. Coursed stugged snecked sandstone with ashlar dressings to S. Substantial brick additions to N and E.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: main 15-bay section with slightly projecting 5-bay entrancepiece at centre; additional band courses at 1st floor cill level and at base of attic; deep dentilled cornice along eaves. Steps up to segmental-headed entrance set within slightly recessed segmental-headed panel rising to 1st floor and flanking pilasters rising to gable; moulded arch decorated with floral motifs including fleur-de-lys; wrought-iron gates open onto entrance lobby; replacement door set back in part-glazed screen with fanlight. Flanking mullioned and transomed quadripartites to ground and 1st floor and one (with shaped pediment) above. Dutch-like gable above; corniced lower stage with flanking finials at head of outer pilasters; pair of central pilasters rising to open-topped semicircular pediment at raised apex; pedimented niche to upper stage of gable. Flanking octagonal towers with finialled pepperpot roofs to gabled section; each with decorative bronze panel by Richard Goulden set in aediculed niche to outer face to ground floor (that to left inscribed 'IN INFANTIA PUDOR', that to right 'IN VIRO VIRTUS'); wrought-iron lamp bracket to adjacent face towards entrance. Narrow windows to alternate exposed faces to floor above. Narrow window to each exposed face to attic; divided by bracketed pilaster at each angle. 5 flanking bays set back slightly; divided at upper level by bracketed pilasters with ball finials above parapet. Mullioned quadripartite recessed slightly below roll-moulded outer lintel to ground floor of each bay apart from canted bay to outer right with central mullioned and transomed quadripartite and flanking transomed bipartites (each divided by bracketed and finialled pilasters at upper level, the whole surmounted by finialled deep polygonal piended roof rising to attic). Boxed dormer (with slightly swept roof) to attic to each of flanking bays (apart from that to outer right). Steps down to basement entrance to inner bay to left side. 4-bay section set back to outer left, including tower with finialled pavilion roof over former Turkish bath returning to N elevation. Corner pilasters with ball finials at angles of tower; dentilled eaves cornice above frieze; mullioned quadripartite to upper level with flanking bracketed pilasters rising to ball finials above parapet. 3 bays to right divided by bracketed panels at parapet level; mullioned sexpartite to basement.
S ELEVATION: wraparound facade continues across gable end bay set forward to outer left; central part of bay projects forward at base of gablehead stack with pair of small windows to ground floor. Irregularly fenestrated section set back to right. Entrance with 2-light rectangular fanlight to far left; window to right and breaking-eaves dormer with semicircular pediment (abutting battered stack) centred above. 3-bay piended-roofed section set forward slightly to right; flanking mullioned and transomed windows to either side of ground floor (sexpartite to left, pair of quadripartites to right); flanking outer breaking-eaves dormers with semicircular pediments above. Pair of windows to central bay to ground and attic floors; upper pair sharing breaking-eaves gable and abutting wallhead stack. Steps down to basement openings behind cast-iron railings with simple Art Nouveau finials to newels.
E ELEVATION: largely occupied by later brick extensions. Harled gable end and white glazed brick sections set back to outer left.
N ELEVATION: largely occupied by later brick extension. Original ashlar tower with finialled pavilion roof over Turkish baths (part of wraparound facade) set back to outer right. Corner pilasters with ball finials at angles of tower; dentilled eaves cornice above frieze; mullioned quadripartite to upper level with flanking bracketed pilasters rising to ball finials above parapet.
Mainly multi-pane timber sash and case windows to original building; casements to dormers and mullioned quadripartites. Slated roofs with red ridge tiles (SE section piended). Flanking bracketed gablehead stacks with cornices and friezes to 2 storey and attic entrancepiece section; corniced gablehead stack with frieze to wraparound facade to S; pair of corniced wallhead stacks (one slightly battered) to S and one to E at junction with white glazed brick section; round cans.
INTERIOR: extensively remodelled with many original features retained. Timber panelling, pilasters and supporting columns to hallway and gallery with balustraded elongated oval well. Reception room to S with timber panelled walls and segmental-arched rececess with chimneypiece to N wall. Elements of former Turkish bath area survive, decorated in Moorish style including Moorish arches and fine glazed and embossed tiling. Galleried swimming pool area with decorative cast-iron columns and balustrade and open steel/cast-iron roof truss; large Diocletion window to internal gable wall.
The Carnegie Leisure Centre (formerly the Carnegie Baths and Gymnasium) is a civic building of considerable importance to Dunfermline and Scotland's history. Commissioned by the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and designed by renowned Scottish Edwardian architect Hippolyte Blanc, the finely detailed Scots Renaissance facade to Pilmuir Street is an excellent example of the work of this architect at the beginning of the 20th century. Flanking the doorway are a fine pair of bronze casts by Richard Goulden. The south elevation also incorporates some Scots detailing.
The multi-million pound redevelopment of the building at the beginning of the 21st century included the retention of numerous significant architectural features including the cast iron roof and columned gallery of the swimming pool, and principal components of the Turkish baths with intricately-patterned glazed tiling. The elongated oval well above the entrance hall, the halls to the S, and various carved timber doorpieces and panelling have also been retained and restored as part of the redevelopment work, adding considerably to the historic interest of the building.
The building was constructed at the bequest of Andrew Carnegie to replace his earlier public baths at the SW corner of Pilmuir Street and Carnegie Street, which he had gifted to the town in 1877. The building adjoins the Carnegie Clinic (see separate list description) at the SE corner. The octagonal tower to the right of the entrance features a black painted circular sign dating from the second world war, indicating an emergency water supply.
Swimming clubs and bath houses were established in Scotland from the 1850s following the enactment of the 1846 Act to Encourage the Establishment of Public Baths and Wash-houses, which was established to improve general public health with access for all classes of citizen. With the rapid expansion of urban population, often living and working in unsanitary conditions, bath and wash houses were seen as essential public services. The Act, which affected the entirety of Britain, encouraged local authorities to open up these facilities in areas of dense population. While men and women did not mix at these facilities, women would have had their own separate entrance, however they would have to attend at certain times when the male pools were not in use. It would not be until the 1870s when separate ladies pools were being considered in bath and wash house design. These bath and wash houses soon started to cater for recreational swimming rather than washing and became a hugely popular social past time during the 20th century.
List description updated at Dunfermline Burgh resurvey (2000) and as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).
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