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Bridge Street, the Foyer, West Bridge Mill (Forth and Clyde Roperie)

A Category B Listed Building in Kirkcaldy, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0985 / 56°5'54"N

Longitude: -3.1646 / 3°9'52"W

OS Eastings: 327646

OS Northings: 690131

OS Grid: NT276901

Mapcode National: GBR 29.MNZP

Mapcode Global: WH6RV.CZ87

Entry Name: Bridge Street, the Foyer, West Bridge Mill (Forth and Clyde Roperie)

Listing Date: 10 September 1979

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 381171

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB36397

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkcaldy

County: Fife

Town: Kirkcaldy

Electoral Ward: Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy

Traditional County: Fife

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1855-57; converted to flats, office, training and seminar facilities, and restaurant 1996 by The Link Housing Association. 3-storey and attic, 15-bay, rectangular-plan former spinning mill with gothic quatrefoil oculi, moulded niche, ball finials, shaped gable, mansard roof and cast-iron Doric colonnade. Rubble with large contrasting ashlar quoins. 3rd floor cornice and eaves cornice. Segmental-headed opening, relieving arches and stone mullions.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: broad arched part-glazed doorway to 3 outer right bays at ground, 3 windows to left, 2 2-leaf doors and further window beyond to left and 6-bay colonnade to outer left, blocked

with windows to centre 2 bays, flanking 2-leaf doors and small windows to outer bays. Regular fenestration to each floor above and to attic with small windows close to eaves and rooflights over each bay;

6 traditional ventilators retained at ridge.

E ELEVATION: 4 windows to each floor; 2 windows to centre with flanking oculi in shaped gable, and decorative niche in gablehead bellow ball finial, further finials to outer corners.

W (BRIDGE STREET) ELEVATION: advanced piended stair tower to outer left with door to left at ground and window to each floor, all on return to right; slightly advanced piended bay to centre with 2 doors at ground and window (converted from gable hoist doors) to each floor. Blocked segmental-headed opening in gablehead.

N (TIEL BURN) ELEVATION: 14-bay. 2 vertically aligned 2-tiered tripartite windows, (former double beam engine house) to each of

2 outer left bays, 12 windows to right with regular fenestration to each floor and attic above.

8-pane glazing pattern in timber casement windows; plate glass glazing in pivotal attic windows and rooflights. Grey slates. Coped ashlar skews and finials.

INTERIOR: cast-iron frame with posts and beams socketed at column heads, stone work and brick barrel-vaults left exposed in restaurant;

W stair with 3 exposed beams and segmental windowheads; decorative cast-iron trusses in top floor conference room. Floors covered with timber batons and walls strapped and lined over cast-iron frame.

Statement of Interest

Situated on the Tiel Burn, The Foyer was built as a flax spinning mill by Messrs F and W Hendry (founded 1806) and acquired by Forth and Clyde Roperie in 1936. An account by Mr A Smith, former managing director, describes the mill as "composed of four flats in the style common to spinning mills of the period. Sisal, jute, hemp and binder twines are twisted from soft fibres", (NMRS). After standing empty for 10 years, The Link Housing Association won approval for conversion to the first purpose-designed Foyer in Scotland. Derived from Le Corbusier's ideal, The Foyer provides accommodation for 44 people, office suites, training and seminar facilities, restaurant, job club and creche. The total cost of 2 million pounds was met by contributions from most interested agencies including local authority and regional council, Scottish Homes, Fife Enterprise, Employment Services, Linktown Action Centre, Historic Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund as well private sponsorship and donations. E gable detail in linoleum at reception was donated by Messrs Nairn & Co.

Most of the original structure was retained, apart from the 3-storey engine room and lift; reclaimed stone was used to effect repairs where practical, but new cills and lintels were necessary. The cast-iron colonnade was exposed when lean-to buildings were demolished at S front; and a maze of 'cundies', water channels designed to tie in with an external sluice bringing water into the mill, approximately 6'-8' deep were discovered below the building.

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