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Town Hall, Market Place, Lauder

A Category B Listed Building in Lauder, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7192 / 55°43'9"N

Longitude: -2.7481 / 2°44'53"W

OS Eastings: 353103

OS Northings: 647566

OS Grid: NT531475

Mapcode National: GBR 9279.VN

Mapcode Global: WH7W3.RHLX

Plus Code: 9C7VP792+MQ

Entry Name: Town Hall, Market Place, Lauder

Listing Name: Mid Row, Lauder Town Hall

Listing Date: 9 June 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 382225

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB37201

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lauder

County: Scottish Borders

Town: Lauder

Electoral Ward: Leaderdale and Melrose

Traditional County: Berwickshire

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Later 18th century rebuilding of earlier structure. 2-storey and attic rectangular-plan town hall (ground floor originally occupied by prison) with clock-tower surmounted by spire and flight of steps to 1st floor entrance. Harled exterior with sandstone ashlar dressings. Rendered plinth to NE and SW sides. Coped gables with block skew putts. Ashlar cills to windows of upper 2 storeys.

NW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical arrangement. Central 1st floor entrance with Gibbs surround and pulvinated entablature with moulded cornice; boarded timber door; pair of blind oculi above with splayed voussoirs at cardinal points; flight of stone steps to ground level with cast iron handrails; entrance with boarded timber door to right return. Bottom of steps flanked by cast iron lamp standards, each with cross bar dated 1925; lanterns above are replacements. Clock-tower rises from centre of gable; square in plan with vertical margins at arrises and moulded eaves band; small square architraved window with louvred vents to each side; clock face above to this and SE sides; small recessed vent to NE and SW sides; squat spire surmounted by weathervane.

SW ELEVATION: entrance (to prison) to right of centre; heavy boarded timber door reinforced with iron strips. Small window with cast iron grille to right. Central window and one to right to 1st floor; 3 symmetrically arranged boarded windows to attic.

NE ELEVATION: 2 small windows with cast iron bars to ground floor. Single window to left of 1st floor and one above.

SE ELEVATION: adjoins No 1 Mid Row.

12-pane timber sash and case windows to 1st floor; 4 and 9-pane timber frame windows elsewhere, apart from attic windows to S, which are boarded. Grey slate roofs. Later shared coped coursed whinstone stack with sandstone quoins projects from SE gable; octagonal and round cans.

INTERIOR: ground floor prison comprises 2 barrel-vaulted cells (larger one to W probably originally subdivided into 2 cells). Lobby to W formerly gave access to small window-less cell (known as 'the black hole') situated beneath steps to main entrance. Prison entrance opens onto small lobby with heavy boarded timber doors giving access to each of main cells. Stone flagged floor. Rebuilt fireplace with plain stone surround to E cell. 1st floor comprises single room (used as court-room and council-chamber); blocked fireplace to E wall. Entrance vestibule enclosed by masonry piers rising from ground floor to support clock-tower; timber staircase opens off this to S, giving access to attic, which rises into roof-space. Clock-tower contains bell, thought to have been renewed in 1790.

Statement of Interest

B Group with Nos 1-5 and No 7 Mid Row (see separate list descriptions) as forming a prominent and complete terrace at the centre of the burgh. The town hall itself is a significant landmark building and a good example of early/traditional civic architecture. It appears that a town hall or tolbooth has existed in Lauder since at least the mid 16th century. In 'Pitcairn's Criminal Trials' there is reference to the "burning of the tolbuth of Lauder" in 1606. The building was thatched until 1770 when its roof was slated. It appears to have been more or less rebuilt around 1773, when contracts for its repair were put out. It ceased to be used as a prison in 1843, when it was condemned by a government inspector. A new clock was ordered to be "sett up in the steeple of the tolbooth" (one was already then in existence) in 1734 and this was replaced in 1859. The surrounds of the principal entrance and oculi above have been renewed in later 20th century (and so probably has the clock face).

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