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Wemyssfield, Town House with Provost's Lamps and Boundary Walls

A Category B Listed Building in Kirkcaldy, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1098 / 56°6'35"N

Longitude: -3.1624 / 3°9'44"W

OS Eastings: 327807

OS Northings: 691386

OS Grid: NT278913

Mapcode National: GBR 29.M3GL

Mapcode Global: WH6RV.DPBK

Entry Name: Wemyssfield, Town House with Provost's Lamps and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 22 March 1988

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 381161

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB36387

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkcaldy

County: Fife

Town: Kirkcaldy

Electoral Ward: Kirkcaldy Central

Traditional County: Fife

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Kirkcaldy

Description

Carr and Howard, 1937 (building interrupted by War) 1st stage completed 1953, 2nd stage 1956. 3-storey and basement, 17-bay (grouped 1-3-1- 11-1), flat-roofed modern classical municipal building with tall, copper clocktower. Steel-framed with cement rendered as ashlar and roll-moulded margins. Deep, moulded base course, eaves cornice and blocking course. Fielded pilastered and corniced openings, glazed oculi; voussoirs, keystone.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: broad entrance bay to left of centre with steps up to canopy on wide, rectangular columns (upper half open giving appearance of windows) to outer angles and similar broad pilasters with windows flanking pilastered doorcase with deep-set 2-leaf panelled timber door and flanking windows. Columnar lamps flank top step, and fluted canopy frieze decorated with thistles, crescent moons and stars (see Notes). Giant, corniced and pilastered tripartite window above with French doors to outer lower lights and panelled transom above; small flanking windows obscured by ironwork sculptures; clocktower (see below) set back on flat roof above. Bays to right and left of centre with regular fenestration, blank stepped back bay to outer right and lower recessed bay to outer left with 2 small windows behind decorative cast-iron guards and bronze statue of 'The Sower' (see Notes).

CLOCKTOWER: 4-stage. Deep, rectangular, fluted 1st stage with 2-leaf door to N and cornice giving way to 2nd stage with deep plinth and engaged piers with tall urn-like finials to angles. Tall louvered 3rd stage with clock to each face and cornice above. Shallow plinth with finials to each angle giving way to tall fluted stage with ball finial below 7.5' weathervane (see Notes) of St Bryce with symbolic tree.

S ELEVATION: 16-bay (grouped 1-10-1-3-1). Advanced entrance bay to right of centre with double stair and decorative cast-iron lamps to pilastered and canopied doorcase with attenuated brackets, keystone and voussoirs, 2-leaf panelled timber door and small flanking windows with cast-iron guards; carved stone above with 'The Abbey' (see Notes); blank, set back face above with flanking plain pilasters. Return to right with 4 small basement windows, 4 windows to ground, that to right in advanced bay, and tall tripartite window above with French doors and decorative cast-iron balcony; glazed oculus to outer right in advanced bay, and small bipartite window above. Return to left mirrors that to right. 3 bays to right with regular fenestration and lower bay to outer right with 2 small windows, each with cast-iron guard; round carved panel above with tree over 'SIGIL DE DYSERT'. Bays to left of entrance bay with regular fenestration, and advanced bay to outer left with vehicle entrance at basement, regular fenestration above: return to right with steps, piers, dwarf wall, decorative cast-iron lamp and railings to 3 bays each with 2-leaf part-glazed timber door and plate glass fanlight; regular fenestration to each floor above.

W ELEVATION: 7-bay. Penultimate bay to left with steps, flanking dwarf walls and decorative cast-iron lamp brackets lead to canopied and pilastered doorway with 2-leaf panelled timber door and fanlight with cast-iron lamp; decorative panels above with star to left and crescent moon to right; circular voussoired stone above with 'The Abbey' and 'VIGILANDO MUNIO'; window to 2nd floor above. Regular fenestration, including basement, to all other bays.

E ELEVATION: lower advanced bay with 3 windows each to ground and 1st floor, the latter taller with common decorative cast-iron balcony. Recessed face above with 2 windows to right and 2 to left.

3-pane glazing pattern in top-opening metal windows.

INTERIOR: decorative cornices, linoleum (by Nairns) and air vents with recurring star and crescent theme. Timber panelled hall and T-plan stair with mural by Walter Pritchard. Boarded timber 'STAIRHEID' with call-box for District Court (no longer held here) and columnar lamps reflecting those at main entrance. Council chamber with public gallery and curtains bearing coat-of-arms.

PROVOST'S LAMPS: 6 decorative cast-iron Provost's lamps, with etched and coloured glass lanterns, from former local authorities; situated to SW.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND RAILINGS: low saddleback-coped boundary walls, some with railings.

Statement of Interest

The Carr and Howard design was a competition winner, but building had only progressed as far as the basement and some structural steel when war broke out. After the war some internal alterations were made to the plans and building work restarted in 1950. The 1st phase was officially opened on 6th July, 1953 by the Rt Hon Earl of Home; and the 2nd phase on 7th November, 1956 by Provost David Wright, JP. Estimated at an original cost of ?122,000, the final cost amounted to ?322,000. The 'Sower' was designed by Thomas Whalen RSA and cast by George Mancini of Edinburgh: the weathervane of St Bryce was designed by the architect and made by Thomas Hadden of Edinburgh. The abbey symbol derives from the Coat of Arms of the Royal Burgh of Kirkcaldy, and the crescent from an alternative Coat of Arms of 1672. The Provost's lamps, from Buckhaven and Methil, Burntisland, Kinghorn, Kirkcaldy, Leven and Markinch, were relocated to this site in 1975 when the

7 Burgh Councils ceased to exist; Leslie did not have a lamp.

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