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Latitude: 56.1163 / 56°6'58"N
Longitude: -3.9373 / 3°56'14"W
OS Eastings: 279640
OS Northings: 693196
OS Grid: NS796931
Mapcode National: GBR 1C.LPFJ
Mapcode Global: WH4P6.HJ9J
Entry Name: 52, 54, 56 Port Street
Listing Date: 21 November 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397144
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49577
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Stirling West
Traditional County: Stirlingshire
Ebenezer Simpson, 1901. English Queen Anne style. Near symmetrical 4-storey and attic (5-storey to rear), 3-bay tenement; shops to ground floor, offices to 1st floor, long, 2-storey pre-existing rear (NW) wing incorporated; random rubble with later brick addition.
Principal (SE) elevation to Port Street: highly unusual and decorative having red-glazed bricks plus richly modelled terracotta detailing; distinctive pilastered margins rising from corniced canopy at 1st floor to full height (visually corresponding with pilastered margins of adjacent buildings).
Gabled grey slate roof, shared, corniced stone apex stacks with circular cans, flat roof over parts of rear and to rear wing. Principal (SE) elevation: recessed round arched close door with keystone to off-centre left. Advanced flanking shopfronts, probably remodelled in inter-war period with later alterations. Heavy overhanging corniced canopy above shopfront forming base to mullioned and transomed timber canted 1st and 2nd floor windows to slightly advanced outerbays with timber casement windows, upper coloured glass sections. Mullioned and transomed round-arched casement window to centre of 1st floor with multi-paned upper section. Decorative timber carved detailing to canted windows between floors. Mullioned 3rd floor windows to slightly advanced outerbays, modern plastic windows. Terracotta balustrade running above 3rd floor to entire elevation. Timber mullioned gabled attic dormer windows set behind balustrade to outerbays. SW elevation: attached to 58-70 Port Street. NE elevation: attached to 44-50 Port Street. Rear ( NW) elevation; advanced pre-existing 2-storey wing to left with late 20th century flat roofed kitchen block, 5-storey tenement recessed behind to left with advanced stairtower and advanced section to right, close door and landing to 1st floor further advanced out of stairtower. Segmentally headed windows, some with timber sash and case windows, bipartite windows to stair, coloured glass windows above door to close and in re-entrant angle.
INTERIOR: remodelled interior to shops to NW and SW, beams with moulded insets remaining to shop to NW, geometric leaded glass windows with coloured glass wreath motif to rear wing. Close; original glazed coloured tiles to dado height of stair, cornice to ground floor vestibule. NE office at 1st floor; subdivided by panelled timber and glass partitions incorporating a number of counters; large subdivided room to SE, smaller rooms to NW.
Assortment of doors including timber panelled with multi-panelled or acid-etched upper sections, WC to rear N. 3 rectangular raised skylights to rear, cornice throughout with floral and geometric plasterwork to ceiling (unoccupied at time of site visit, 2003). SW office at 1st floor; smaller in size than office to NE; central hall with room to SE and NW, original chimneypieces to both rooms, simple cornices (latterly used as hairdressers, however unoccupied at time of site visit, 2003). Flat to 2nd floor and attic unseen, however some original features to 2nd floor flat remaining confirmed by telephone conversation, flat to 3rd floor modernised.
A remarkable building, unusual not only for Stirling but Scotland; the red glazed-bricks, terracotta detailing and general look is that of the English Queen Anne style - providing a very interesting building in the context of the Scottish streetscape. The local architect Ebenezer Simpson was also the architect of the adjoining building at 58-70 Port Street which is a more conventional essay of the previous year in tenement design. 52-56 Port Street had been attributed to the local Stirling architect John Allan, well known for his idiosyncratic
/flamboyant buildings around Stirling. However the Dean of Guild Plans identify Simpson as architect. It is possible that there was some tie or relationship between the 2 men; they were of similar ages, worked in the same area and stylistically share common themes that were unusual.
The building is a well-informed essay in the Queen Anne style with many sophisticated touches such as the terracotta detailing, balustrade and use of coloured glass to upper sections of some windows. Ordnance Survey maps demonstrate that the present building replaced a former one on its site, the rear wing being a relic of that earlier building. The surviving features to the interior indicate that the detail and finish directed to the exterior were also shown to the interior, it of interest to note that the ground and 1st floor ceilings have beams, possibly of steel.
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