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Frews Bar, 117 Strathmartine Road

A Category C Listed Building in Dundee, Dundee

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Latitude: 56.475 / 56°28'29"N

Longitude: -2.98 / 2°58'48"W

OS Eastings: 339726

OS Northings: 731857

OS Grid: NO397318

Mapcode National: GBR Z8T.RX

Mapcode Global: WH7RB.6J62

Plus Code: 9C8VF2F9+XX

Entry Name: Frews Bar, 117 Strathmartine Road

Listing Name: 117 Strathmartine Road, Frews Bar

Listing Date: 27 May 2008

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399929

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51106

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dundee

County: Dundee

Town: Dundee

Electoral Ward: Coldside

Traditional County: Angus

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H and F Thomson, 1915, Alex Fair, wood carver and John Scott, joiner; 1934 Art Deco bar. Unusually fine, 3-bar interior to deceptively typical Dundee public house occupying ground floor of 4-storey tenement with canted corner on prominent corner site and retaining original metal windows with leaded coloured glass and etched glass. Squared and snecked rubble with raised lugged margins and quoin strips, and bracketted cills to Strathmartine Road elevation; eaves course and dominant shouldered wallhead stacks.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: simple ground floor bar with 'FREWS' in plain lettering to fascia: main entrance to NW in narrow canted corner bay with 2 large windows to right (Strathmartine Road) and 1 window to left (Moncur Crescent), each with coloured leaded glass depicting plough (see Notes) flanked by thistles to 3 lower lights, and Frews etched in centre light above. N (Moncur Crescent) elevation with outer left door and adjacent 15-pane window etched with 'FREWS' and Art Deco chevrons alternating across centre lights. Further door at W (Strathmartine Road) elevation. Upper floors of tenement with regular fenestration, 4-bay to W, 5-bay to N and single windows to canted corner bay.

INTERIOR: well-detailed interior comprising 3 bars. Large public bar (predominantly of 1915) with timber panelling, moulded cornices and anaglypta ceiling; back gantry with some additions but retaining original bevelled mirror panels; large inglenook fireplace with carved detail to frieze incorporating crossed long stem pipes flanked by tobacco jars, that to right with following inscription on back (see Notes). Very fine Art Deco 'Sporting' bar (dating from 1934), retaining panelled walls, copper-fronted quarter-circle bar, counter front and back gantry, fireplace, fixed seating and tables. Further inter-war lounge bar with timber-panelled walls, brass bell-pushes and later counter.

Statement of Interest

Frews Bar is an unusually well-detailed survivor of a typical Dundee tenement bar occupying a prominent corner site. Individually, Dundee architects Henry and Frank Thomson contributed many important buildings to the City but this is an unusual example dating from their short-lived partnership (see below). Overlooking a busy junction just a short walk from both of Dundee's football grounds, and formerly known as 'The Plough', hence the window decoration, the public bar (dating from 1915) with its oversized ingleneuk fireplace has remained largely intact. One of the tobacco jars which decorate the fire surround is inscribed on the back with the following: 'H & F Thomson Architect. Alex Fair Wood Carver. John Scott Joiner. Mr Stewart Licence Holder. 18th October 1915'.

The other bars both date from between the wars, and of these the former 'Saloon' of 1934, now known as the 'Sporting Bar', is outstanding in its architectural features. Its design is thought to be a replica of a bar on The Queen Mary cruise liner (although this is unsubstantiated). The etched glazing incorporating the name 'Frew's' would have been inserted after 1947 when William Frew, one of the longest serving publicans in Dundee, purchased the bar. William Frew previously ran Frews Bar in Hawkhill, and worked in the trade until 1982.

The architects of the original bar, H and F Thomson of Dundee, were sons of City Architect James Thomson. The brothers went into partnership in 1908, soon after Henry (Harry) obtained the commission for the King's Theatre and asked his brother Frank to design it. Frank was working in London at the time and it was from there that he designed both the Blackness and Coldside Libraries. The partnership was very successful in the Dundee area, and produced a number of important buildings, including St John's Cross Church and Brought Ferry's Masonic Hall, both 1911. However by the start of World War I, Henry's financial difficulties had led to a break up of the partnership although Frank is recorded as saying it was not his idea.

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