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Old High School, Priory Lane, Dunfermline

A Category B Listed Building in Dunfermline, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0687 / 56°4'7"N

Longitude: -3.4592 / 3°27'33"W

OS Eastings: 309252

OS Northings: 687163

OS Grid: NT092871

Mapcode National: GBR 1Y.PNTN

Mapcode Global: WH5QR.TQYK

Plus Code: 9C8R3G9R+F8

Entry Name: Old High School, Priory Lane, Dunfermline

Listing Name: 58-73 (Inclusive Nos) Skibo Court, Former High School, Including Gateway to Buchanan Street

Listing Date: 17 September 1987

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394335

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46951

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dunfermline

County: Fife

Town: Dunfermline

Electoral Ward: Dunfermline Central

Traditional County: Fife

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James A Mercer and F and G Holme, all of Liverpool, 1883-86; converted to flats late 20th century. 2-storey with attic and basement; 5-bay; irregular, roughly rectangular-plan; former school. Asymmetrical Scottish Baronial design with crowstepped gables and belltower. Coursed snecked rockfaced sandstone with droved sandstone ashlar dressings. Base course and cill courses to 1st and 2nd floors to wraparound facade to principal (S) elevation. Moulded eaves band to most of principal elevation; overhanging eaves elsewhere. Long and short surrounds and chamfered reveals to principal and side (E and W) elevations. Segmental relieving arches over ground floor windows to principal elevation. Crowstepped gables with beaked skewputts.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 2 bays to outer right set back; round-arched entrance at base of belltower to left one; ashlar surround with stepped hood-mould, splayed reveals and moulded voussoirs; dated AD 1884 at apex with heraldic panel (incorporating visored helmet and rampant lion) to panel above; replacement panelled timber door and fanlight. 2 small paired windows, set under shared relieving arch and with lintels rounded at edges, above. Small architraved window with undulating cill and curved pediment to lower storey of tower above. Upper storey of tower corbelled out slightly and with ball-finialled crowstepped gable at apex; segmental-headed opening with moulded surround and concave reveals to centre; cross-legged gargoyle in high relief (by Alexander Neilson of Edinburgh) to deep cill panel; flanking waterspouts at top of corbelling. Roundel containing medieval head in high relief above. 2 paired openings with louvred vents to right return (of tower); waterspout to left at top of corbelling. Pair of windows with shared relieving arch to ground floor to outer right bay. Single short segmental-headed basement window below and window above. Attic cill course stepped over monogrammed panel below eaves. 3-bay section set forward to left; pair of windows to each bay to ground floor; each with carved stone panel bearing scroll with name of major literary or scientific figure immediately beneath relieving arch. Crowstepped gable with coronet finial surmounted by lion to centre bay above pair of segmental-headed windows set within shared shallow round-arched recess; hood-moulds to windows and recess, all with carved stops (lions' heads to latter); elaborately carved tympanum to recess, including ogee heads over windows, town coat of arms and owl. Carved roundel at apex of gable; cable-moulded tubular rainwater spouts to either side at base. Triple window arrangements to 1st floor to flanking bays.

E ELEVATION: 2 bays; that to left stepped forward slightly with window to ground, 1st and attic floors; that to ground floor with relieving arch; those to upper floors with pilastered architraves, joined vertically by pilastered panel with 'D' at centre. 1st floor window bracketed at base; pedimented dormer to attic; shell motif at centre of pediment; flanking ball finials and carved finial at apex. Crowstepped gable with onion-shaped finial to right bay. Pair of windows with shared relieving arch to ground and 1st floors. Architraved 2-light mullioned window with open-topped pediment to attic; motto 'LABOR.OMNIA.VINCIT' to lintel; curved centrepiece with ball finial to pediment. Small window to outer right of ground floor.

W ELEVATION: 2 bays, both with crowstepped gables; that to left slightly lower height, stepped down further to left and with ball finial; that to right with urn finial. Left bay set forward slightly; entrance, with segmental-headed tympanum inscribed 'VIRTUTIS.GLORIA.MERCES', to outer left. 2 windows to right; both with segmental-headed openings; that to left has lintel below and tympanum carved with dragons and thistle. 4-light mullioned and transomed window (3 lower lights with central Caernarvon-arched upper light) with round ashlar relieving arch to gable above. 1st floor cill course stepped up over panel bearing heraldic shield to outer left. Right bay set back. 2-light mullioned window with carved stone panel bearing scroll below relieving arch to ground floor. 4-light mullioned and transomed window with Caernarvon-arched upper lights above.

N ELEVATION: 3 central bays set forward slightly. 3 windows to ground and 1st floors to central bay. Crowstepped gables with ball finials to flanking bays; both with segmental-arched recesses containing paired upper and lower windows to ground floor; pair of windows with shared relieving arch above and attic window to gable. Gabled bay with ball finial set back to left. Entrance (with late 20th century timber door) with window to left. Window above; paired windows to gable; inserted window below. Altered half bay to right; inserted window to ground floor; pair of segmental-headed openings (now both transomed windows) above; window to upper level. Narrow bay set back to outer right (formerly with entrance beneath catslide roof).

Mainly 6-pane timber sash and case windows, some with 2-pane horizontally hung casements at head. Grey slate roofs with red tiled ridges throughout, gabled apart from piended section (with finial) at SE corner; 2 square cupolas with swept finialled piended roofs and one octagonal cupola with balustrade and ogee roof surmounted by weathervane along main E-W axis of roof. Large corniced and coped gablehead stack combining 8 square/round-plan flues to rear (N) side of tower; cans missing.

GATEWAY TO BUCHANAN STREET: pair of square-plan sandstone ashlar gatepiers; each with base course, frieze and moulded cornice surmounted by raised coping with ball finial. Cast-iron gates (partially replaced) with ball finials. Pedestrian gateway to bowling club to S.

Statement of Interest

A handsome late 19th century school building incorporating an unusual large statue of a cross-legged gargoyle by Alexander Neilson of Edinburgh. Originally built as a high school, the building became incorporated into Lauder Technical College in 1958. See separate list descriptions for former lodge on Priory Lane and Nos 1-57 Skibo Court (former Lauder Technical College).

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