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13 Riversdale Crescent, Murrayfield Ice Rink

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9431 / 55°56'35"N

Longitude: -3.2436 / 3°14'37"W

OS Eastings: 322421

OS Northings: 672929

OS Grid: NT224729

Mapcode National: GBR 8BK.G1

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.4WP9

Entry Name: 13 Riversdale Crescent, Murrayfield Ice Rink

Listing Date: 18 June 2013

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401656

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52051

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Corstorphine/Murrayfield

Traditional County: Midlothian

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J B Dunn and G L Martin, designed 1938-9. Purpose-built rectangular-plan Art Deco style ice rink with prominent symmetrical, flat-roofed entrance elevation fronting ice rink block set in large open site. 3-storey, rendered, central entrance bay with 5 circular lights and paired flagpoles flanked by advanced 5-bay, 2-storey brick sections with horizontal glazing and paired projecting semi-circular windows to inner bays. Black glazed brick detailing. Plain curved entrance canopy over 5 paired double doors divided by fins. Projecting continuous cill and hoodmould margins to window openings and projecting band course at wallheads. Plain brick side and rear elevations, painted at ground, punctuated by single storey exit outshots with paired brick ribs extending upwards around former windows (now infilled). Corrugated panels spanning horizontally under eaves. 1979 curling rink addition to right of entrance, (See Notes)

Lying pane Art Deco style metal glazing; 12 panes to upper floor and margined pattern glazing to rounded bays. Timber and glazed doors. Predominantly piended roof with three valley sections spanning across centre. Corrugated sheeting to roof, cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: original interior plan layout largely intact with main open ice arena surrounded by raked seating and brick built service and public corridors under the seating with rooms off. Original metal and timber pivot seats throughout. Timber doors and windows openings. Exposed cast-iron riveted structural elements throughout and panelled suspended ceiling. Horizontal style timber and glazed partition to former café area. Art Deco style door handles.

Statement of Interest

Murrayfield Ice Rink is an extremely rare surviving example of a purpose-built ice rink building and features a stylish 1930s Art Deco entrance façade. The building is still in use primarily as an ice sport facility. It is the largest permanently seated indoor arena in Scotland and it has been in the same private ownerships since 1957. It was customary to design attractive entrance blocks for large functional sporting halls and arenas and accordingly the architectural interest of Murrayfield Ice Rink is principally focused on its Art Deco exterior.

The rink was completed in 1939 at a cost of £60,000 but was requisitioned by the government as a Royal Army Service Corp Depot for some years, then used as a store. After some alterations it opened to the public on August 7th 1952 with a seating capacity of 3,300. The rink was bankrupt by 1957 at which point it was taken over by the current owners who have kept it in use since, predominantly for skating and hockey, but also as a venue for ice shows, curling, boxing, basketball, speedway and musical events.

Indoor ice rinks first emerged in Canada from the 1870s when timber sheds were erected over naturally occurring outdoor ice to control the surface and prevent it from being covered with further snowfall. Mechanically frozen artificial ice was patented in 1870 in London by Dr John Gamgee (1831-94) using ether, nitrogen, water and glycerine and his 'Glycarium' which opened in 1876 in London was the first building designed as an ice rink.

Scotland, and specifically, Edinburgh, has a historical connection with skating. It is thought that Britain's first skating club was formed in Edinburgh possibly as early as 1642. However, the first successful indoor ice rink in Scotland was a temporary conversion of a 1875 circular building on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow which had previously been used as a 'diorama'. It was converted to an ice rink in 1895 by the architect James Miller and ran successfully for a period of just three years before it was found a circle plan was not ideal for either curling or skating. The first purpose-built ice rink in Scotland was built in 1907 at Crossmyloof. Renowned for its advanced construction, it was a forerunner to the internationally important Manchester Ice Palace of 1910. Crossmyloof was open until it was demolished 1986, apart from a brief period when it was requisitioned by an engineering firm in WWI.

The 1920s saw an increase in the number of rinks due to improvements in refrigeration efficiency and a boom in the interest in ice hockey in the later 1930s further contributed to the number of rinks constructed in the latter half of the decade. Of the 27 rinks known to have been constructed in Britain from 1927-39 only four survive, Murrayfield (1939), Kirkcaldy (1937) and two in London. The enduring pattern for inter-war rinks was to be set up but only run for short periods before closing, usually due the financial pressure of maintaining buildings of this type. A number of rinks were built in Scotland in this period although most were demolished in the 1980s including Perth, 1936, Dunfermline, 1939, Dundee, 1938. Ayr Ice Rink (1938) was demolished in 1990. Falkirk, built 1938, is still in use as a Bingo Hall however it is altered and of a much plainer design. Kirkaldy Ice Rink is contemporary and the only other rink of this period to survive in Scotland, (see separate listing).

Much like cinema architecture of the period local architects were employed to create enticing and welcoming entrances to what were ostensibly industrial buildings built to house the single open area and the mechanical plant needed to freeze the ice. J B Dunn and G L Martin were not a well known firm of the period however the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland holds drawings by the same architects for a separate building housing a swimming bath and gymnasium at Murrayfield as well as drawings showing an alternative, more elaborate, yet unrealised scheme for the ice rink.

Haymarket Ice Rink was built in 1912 and latterly was predominantly used for curling alone. When it closed in 1978 there was a need for more curling ice in Edinburgh and so a new seven lane curling rink was built onto the North West corner of the Murrayfield Ice Rink in 1979, opening in 1980. Although the curling rink extension is a separate building it is currently linked internally to the east side upper floor glazed section of the ice rink's 1930s main elevation which it uses as a function room. The 1979 curling rink addition was not considered of special interest at the time of the listing.

Listed as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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