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Latitude: 58.4424 / 58°26'32"N
Longitude: -3.0914 / 3°5'28"W
OS Eastings: 336386
OS Northings: 950976
OS Grid: ND363509
Mapcode National: GBR L6QD.YC8
Mapcode Global: WH6DN.H248
Entry Name: High Street, Stafford Place, Wick Council Offices
Listing Date: 16 August 2002
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396310
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48834
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness
Traditional County: Caithness
Circa 1820 with mid 20th century addition. 3-storey, 6-bay, curved tenement (now offices) with concave front elevation. Contrasting coursed dark whinstone and light sandstone dressings. Base course, cill course to 1st and 2nd floors, cornice with plain blocking course above. Regular fenestration.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: near symmetrical N (principal) elevations with 2 doors at ground floor. Convex S elevation with diagonal elevation to SW. Modern addition to E extends Southwards. Curved roof; 2 shallow pyramid roofs and 2 outer half-pyramid roofs with gable wallheads.
Altered openings and replacement plate glass glazing to ground floor. Plate glass timber sash and case windows at 1st and 2nd floors of principal elevation. Grey slate. Raised stone stacks to centre of pyramid roofs; and to gableheads.
An interesting building due to its curved plan form, the building facilitates the widening of the High Street where the street curves, opening up a public space that formerly contained the market cross.
The building is referred to as Stafford Place in the 1851 Census Return (but not in the 1841 Census) with a draper, grocer and printing works at the ground floor. Family members are mentioned so it is likely that they were accommodated in the upper floors. The Eastern section of the building was formerly the site of the Northern Ensign Newspaper Offices and Printing Works and the owner, William Rae, later purchased the other 2 properties (1883-1884 Valuation Roll). The paper was printed from 1850-1921. When publication ceased, the property was bought by the corn merchant Miller family who then sold it to Caithness County Council in 1965. The council continue to use the building council offices (2001). Alexander Bain, inventor of the fax machine and the electric clock, served part of his apprenticeship as a clockmaker in this building in 1829-30.
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