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Burgh Chambers And War Memorial, Cornhill Square, Galashiels

A Category B Listed Building in Galashiels, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6143 / 55°36'51"N

Longitude: -2.8063 / 2°48'22"W

OS Eastings: 349311

OS Northings: 635931

OS Grid: NT493359

Mapcode National: GBR 83VJ.77

Mapcode Global: WH7WN.V4VT

Plus Code: 9C7VJ57V+PF

Entry Name: Burgh Chambers And War Memorial, Cornhill Square, Galashiels

Listing Name: Albert Place, Burgh Chambers and Clock Tower, Including War Memorials, Ballustrading and Steps

Listing Date: 12 March 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 373373

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB31977

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Galashiels

County: Scottish Borders

Town: Galashiels

Electoral Ward: Galashiels and District

Traditional County: Selkirkshire

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Robert Hall and Co, dated 1867; extensive additions by R S Lorimer 1924-7, including corbelled tower and extensions to SW and NE to form prominent corner-sited asymmetrical Scottish Renaissance style triangular-plan burgh buildings with clock tower and war memorial; 3-storey, 5-bay, brick extension to Paton Street by Aitken and Turnbull, 1976. Original 1867, 2-storey, 4-bay section to Albert Place (SW) with segmental arched windows, advanced crowstepped gable and large hoodmoulded geometric traceried window. Further 7-bay extension by Lorimer to SW with advanced crowstepped gable with carved capital french windows to bracketed balcony over architraved dated doorpiece forming main entrance. 3-storey, 10-bay elevation to Paton Street (NE) with shaped breaking eaves dormers to left hand bays; stone entrance porch and stair window to re-entrant angle with projecting 2-bay crowstepped gable to right. Coursed ashlar with deep chamfered surround to 1867 section; coursed rubble with smooth recessed rybats and moulded margins to SW and tower; random rubble with stugged sandstone margins to NE.

CLOCK TOWER AND WAR MEMORIAL: 5-stage, square-plan tower with corbelled top stage; pyramidal roof; breaking eaves gothic gabled clock (by W. Potts and Sons, Leeds); bi-partite ventilated windows; arrow slits and curved corner stair. Recessed double chamfered segmental and pointed arch with carved figure of Peace by David Sutherland to base of tower over large bronze 1st World War memorial plaque. Later 2nd World War memorials with canted stone hoodmoulds flanking central arch.

INTERIOR: good late Arts and Crafts decorative scheme in place predominantly dating to Lorimer extension of 1927; timber panelled doors to entrance hall with stone stair and decorative wrought iron railings. Painted panel depicting town motto 'sour plums' and large contemporary mural of Pan by Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) over the main stairwell, originally housed in Melrose. Timber glazed screens to cloakrooms; circular brass rams head light fittings. Main 1st floor meeting chamber dating to 1867; piended ribbed ceiling; decorative plaster corbels; panelled woodwork and shutters. Former police station cells to basement.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows; pitched slate roofs; stone crowstepped skews and beaked skewputts; corniced ashlar ridge stacks; plastic gutters; cast-iron downpipes.

Statement of Interest

The Burgh Chambers with its War Memorial is an important landmark in Galashiels, prominently sited at the head of Bank Street, dominating the Cornmill Fountain and the Bank Street Gardens, and defining an area that was formerly used for outdoor civic gatherings. The building itself is a striking Scottish Renaissance composition by Scotland's prominent architect of the early 20th century, R S Lorimer (1864-1929).

The Edinburgh firm of Lorimer and Mathew carried out alterations to form a Caretakers House within the Burgh Chambers circa 1939. It is believed that this was sited to the 1st floor interior courtyard, but is now converted to office accommodation.

The original building of 1867 was completed at a cost of £1600. The Clock Tower extension was built on the site of the former mill house to the corn mill which was also demolished to make way for the Cornmill fountain. The balcony to the SW was gifted in 1935 by Alexander Darling in memory of time spent in Galashiels from 1873-77. The bells were donated by the Cochranes, a prominent local manufacturing company, in memory of 2 sons killed in the war.

The basement was previously used as a police station and cells are still evident. The main chamber is used as the burgh chambers whilst the remainder of the building also houses permanent offices for the local council (2006).

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