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Hipster Scum
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Discussion Starter #1
Given the amount of spare time on my hands right now, I thought I'd create a thread to share some examples of pre-ww2 Scottish architecture. Scotland as both a former kingdom and constituent UK country has a long history that has led to distinctive architectural features and influences. I'll try to pick a mix of examples from different eras that have interesting styles or history.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
First off, Glamis Castle. A castle has sat on this site since the 11th century, but it's current form largely dates from the 1600s. It is an example of Scottish Renaissance architecture, and demonstrates the shift as castles being defensive structures to stately homes. This style was heavily influenced by chateau architecture in France, whom Scotland historically had strong links with.

Glamis itself has some interesting stories. It is the fictional home of Shakespeare's Macbeth. In the 1500s, the Lord's wife was found guilty of poisoning him and was burned at the stake as a witch. A legend called the Monster of Glamis describes a deformed child of the noble family being hidden away and bricked up in the walls. And of course, it is purportedly haunted by several ghosts.

More recently it was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth's mother.

A lot of traditional scottish architecture is defined by irregular symmetry, towers and turrets:

Glamis castle
by Chris Dingsdale, on Flickr

Some renaissance detailing at the front entrance:

Glamis Castle
by Massimiliano Rossi, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Next up is Rosslyn Chapel, in the village of Roslin, just outside Edinburgh. Built in the 15th century, Rosslyn is renowned for its ornate Gothic interior stonework. The chapel fell into ruin after the Scottish Reformation and fall of Catholicism in the country, but restoration work has been ongoing since the mid 1800s to bring it back to its former glory.

More recently, the chapel been closely associated with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which reinforced theories about the building's connections with the Knights Templar, Freemasonry and the Holy Grail. While historians have argued that there is no basis for these claims, it has nonetheless helped make Rosslyn a popular tourist attraction.



Rosslyn Chapel 4
by Sam Ross, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Riddle's Court is an example of Edinburgh's vernacular architecture from the 1500s and has recently been restored. Much of Scotland's buildings today have exposed stonework, but historically it would have been more popular to use lime mortar in bright colours to help protect the building from the wet climate.


Riddle's court
by Ron Donoghue, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #5
George Heriot's School was established in Edinburgh's Old Town in the 1600s. It is named after its benefactor, who donated his fortune after his death to build a charitable school for disadvantaged children, which still continues its purpose today. It is another example of Scottish renaissance architecture, with a castle-form synergised with renaissance detailing and design principles such as symmetry and a central quadrangle.


George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh
by David Gray, on Flickr


george heriot's school
by Kasia Matyjaszek, on Flickr


Architectural Detail on the Clock Tower, George Heriot's School, Edinburgh
by Phil Masters, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The Palace of Holyroodhouse was the main residence of Scottish royalty up until 1603 when King James l inherited the English and Irish crown and moved his court to London. The building was reconstructed in the Palladian style in the late 1600s following a fire. The surviving tower from the old palace was duplicated on the other side for symmetry. Holyrood is still a functioning royal residence today as the Queen spends a week there in the summer before going north to Balmoral.

The original palace:

As it appears today:

Central courtyard:

The King's Bedchamber:
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank you!

Another important historic royal residence is Stirling Castle, which has a very rich history. The castle, which is first documented in the 1100s, is located in a very strategically important location in the middle of Scotland. Holding Stirling was seen as necessary to control the rest of the country, and as a result it was a frequent target during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Famous battles, such as the Battle of Stirling Bridge and the Battle of Bannockburn took place nearby. The castle served both as a palace and a fortification and this is reflected in its architecture:

The Great Hall dates from 1503. It was worked on by a number of English craftsmen, and incorporates some English design ideas. The building was badly altered when it was converted to a Barracks in 1800, but it has been meticulously restored to its original form complete with limewashed walls:

The Royal Palace was built in the early 1500s and is the earliest example of a Renaissance palace in the British Isles. James V, the father of Mary Queen of Scots, was quite a prolific palace builder (more examples to come). The building demonstrates the shift from Late Gothic to Early Renaissance. The stone figures are believed to be the work of a German stonemason, and depictions include the King, St Michael, the Devil, soldiers and planetary deities such as Venus. The bars on the windows reflect the harsh reality of that time, the castle would continue to be threatened in various wars right up to the early 1700s:

The Chapel Royal built in the late 1500s in just seven months for the christening of James VI's son. It demonstrates a more direct Italian influence with the Italianate windows and Classical entrance:

The castle in situ atop Stirling Hill, with the town below:
 

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Riddle's Court is an example of Edinburgh's vernacular architecture from the 1500s and has recently been restored. Much of Scotland's buildings today have exposed stonework, but historically it would have been more popular to use lime mortar in bright colours to help protect the building from the wet climate.


Riddle's court
by Ron Donoghue, on Flickr
Never knew this, looks very continental. Are there any further plans to restore these older buildings? And why were the stones laid bare in the first place?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Never knew this, looks very continental. Are there any further plans to restore these older buildings? And why were the stones laid bare in the first place?
It has become more commonplace now when carrying out restoration work. When Stirling Castle's Great Hall above was restored with that limewashing in 1999 it was controversial since most people picture Scotland's old buildings with bare stone. Limewashing fell out of fashion around the 18th century, and the old stone was exposed by the elements over time.

I'll give you another example. The village of Culross in Fife, became relatively prosperous in the 16th and 17th century from coal mining and salt production, but it had declined to a backwater by the Victorian Era. As a result, the village centre is an almost perfect time capsule from the past, and recent renovations have reinstated the colourful wall harling:

The village's Mercat Cross where daily trading (and hangings) would take place. The right to host a market or fair was a privilege only granted by monarchs, bishops or barons, so every major settlement in Scotland would have a similar Cross. Note Scotland's national animal on top, the unicorn, a very popular design motif in heraldry and architecture here.

Culross Palace was built by the local lord in the late 16th/early 17th century, who had became wealthy from the coal and salt trade with the Low Countries and Scandinavia. The Ochre colour, which I have shown in previous examples, was associated with royalty and was known as the "the King's Gold":

Each window pediment is unique in design. This was popular in stately buildings at the time (see Heriot's School further up):
 

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Gladstone's Land - Lawnmarket, Edinburgh
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Gladstone's Land - Wikipedia
Gladstone's Land is an old building built in 1617 on the lawnmarket in the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh. It was saved from demolition in 1934 by National Trust for Scotland and is still owned by them. Its an amazing building that has that cave like cragginess of old Edinburgh buildings. The building is 6 stories high due to the cramped space in the old town. It is a quintessential example of an old tenement building in the old town of Edinburgh, situated in the old wynds (lanes) and closes (alleys) that defined the tight, narrow plots of the old town. These plots were known as tenements, and the buildings that came to be erected on them were called lands.

When it was first renovated by the National Trust for Scotland, they uncovered original renaissance painted ceilings! You can see on the windows boards of wood - these are unusual half-shuttered windows. At ground level, there is an arcade frontage and reconstructed shop booth. At the entrance it features a gilt-copper hawk with outstretched wings. Although not an original feature, the significance of this is that the name "Gledstanes" is derived from the Scots word "gled" meaning a kite or hawk. It is a museum open to the public.
It is currently being renovated and will reopen in August.
 

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Edinburgh is an extraordinary city. It has medieval roots in the old town that was built on a volcanic rock with the castle commanding the highest pinnacle of this. When imagining Edinburgh's old town, one pictures a lot of tall stone buildings but in fact it used to have quite a few timber framed buildings!
This was until the Georgian and then Victorian era's when the age of enlightenment came along and tried to 'rationalise' the place. This is exemplified by the orderly grid system of the new town. Gladstone's land is a good example of the pre-enlightenment building in the vernacular Scottish Renaissance style. However, one can see in very old photographs from the 1850's that there were still wooden framed buildings on the Lawnmarket near the castle!
Historical_images_of_Edinburgh
(Below left) The north side of the Lawnmarket with Gladstones Land in the left of the image. All the buildings to the right of it were demolished and replaced with more orderly Victorian buildings in the Scottish Baronial style.
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(Below right) Present day.

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This really shows what a miracle it was that Gladstone's Land has survived to present day. All thanks to National Trust Scotland!

The Bowhead House is another great example of Timber framed buildings in Edinburgh dating from the Medieval period. It is bit a of a loss but I think in this case, the Victorian replacement in the Baronial Revival style is a much nicer.looking building.
(Below left) The Bowhead House in the centre in the 1850s.
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(Below right) Present day photo showing its Victorian replacement. (location: Google Maps)

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Brief history of the Bowhead House and street leading to the right in the photos:
The Bowhead house was the top of the hill that the West Bow street led down from. It used to be the main entrance to the city of Edinburgh from the West. A very steep zigzag road climbed steeply from the Grassmarket to the Lawnmarket and the Castle. The tenement at the top was long known as the Old Bowhead or Bow Head House.

When the Town Council drew up plans for a new road, the middle section of the West Bow was demolished to make way for it. The new Victoria Street was established in 1829 cutting across the former West Bow and connecting George IV Bridge to the Grassmarket.
Bowhead House had survived the changes to the road layouts round about it, but was demolished in 1878-79. The demolition is described in James Grant’s Old and New Edinburgh:
“One of the finest specimens of the wooden-fronted houses of 1540 was on the south side of the Lawnmarket and was standing all unchanged after the lapse of more than 338 years, till its demolition in 1878-9.”

(Below) The Bowhead House viewed from the side with another medieval building adjoining it in 1855 by Thomas Keith.
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The Victorians replaced the building with a new one all in stone in the Scottish Baronial style. I think this new building, while not as characterful or unique as its predecessor, is certainly worthy of respect and admiration and is symbolic of the newer, taller Edinburgh of the 19th century.
history-of-the-house-bowhead-house
There is a book detailing the many no longer existing buildings of Edinburgh that were of historical value. It is worth checking out it is called: The Lost Buildings of Edinburgh.
 

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John Knox's House & Moubray House - Edinburgh
And talk of medieval timber framed houses in Edinburgh brings me to John Knox's House and Moubray House on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Knox_House
pre-1750-buildings-in-edinburgh-old-town-conservation-area
Both located on the glorious Royal Mile in Edinburgh, these two buildings are quite unique in their construction and give priceless examples of construction in the medieval era and later.
John Knox's house was built from 1490 onwards, featuring a fine wooden gallery and hand-painted ceiling. It was further extended in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a long, narrow 3-storey building with a basement and attic tenement. It is reputed to have been owned and lived in by Protestant reformer John Knox during the 16th century.
(Below) John Knox's House on the right and Moubray House on the left.
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Moubray House, 51-55 High Street - Edinburgh
wikipedia.org/wiki/Moubray_House
Moubray House is one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, and one of the oldest occupied residential buildings in Edinburgh, Scotland. The façade dates from the early 17th century, built on foundations laid c.1477.
The tenement is noted for its interiors, including a Renaissance board-and-beam painted ceiling discovered in 1999 with a plaster ceiling with exotic fruit and flower mouldings dated 1650 painted on the wall, and a wooden barrel-vaulted attic apartment on the roofline. Moubray House is designated a Category A listed building by Historic Scotland.
Moubray House was restored by the Cockburn Association in 1910, and in the 1970s by the architect Nicholas Groves-Raines. An American benefactor further restored the house and gave it to the nation, in the care of Historic Scotland in 2012.
(Below) Image showing the passage way between the two buildings called Trunk's Close, with the 1529 'back-land' of Moubray House on the left, with its corbelled projections for stairs.
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Discussion Starter #16
It is a shame that more of Edinburgh's wooden architecture did not survive. They had a lot of charm, even if they look a bit ramshackle in those Victorian photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Another great loss was Glasgow University's old college. The university dates back to 1451, making it the 4th oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews. The Old College was built in the 1600s and was one of the centres for the Scottish Enlightenment. It remained the home of the university until 1870, when slums and pollution led to them moving to a new campus further west. However, the loss of the Old College was highly unpopular at the time, and one local businessman paid for many stone carvings to be moved to the new campus piece by piece.

Front entrance to the Old College, incorporating many of the renaissance features discussed further up. The bell-shaped clock tower is Dutch influenced and there are many other examples from that time:

This photo is titled 'The Exodus from the Old College', and marks the professors leaving the old building for the last time. The Lion and Unicorn staircase was a notable feature, with the lion representing England and the unicorn representing Scotland. Pairing them together marked the union of the Scottish and English thrones in 1603.

Pearce Lodge retains many of the Old College's carvings and serves as the gatehouse for the "new" campus:

The Lion and Unicorn staircase today:
 

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Interesting. Are there any books about Edinburgh's Medieval architecture and its replacement?
I can only think of 'The Lost Buildings of Edinburgh'. It goes through the history of the old town and its houses and its architectural history. Really fascinating.
This link is also interesting: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/24351/pre-1750-buildings-in-edinburgh-old-town-conservation-area
For instance, the Old West Bow street was an amazing part of medieval Edinburgh. It was an incredibly steep, "Z" shaped road that led up to the the Bowhead house and the Lawnmarket.
It was demolished in 1830 and replaced with the beautiful, elegant Victoria Street:
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Major Tom Weirs' House
wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Weir
Near the bottom of West Bow was a house called Major Tom Weirs' House. It was an ancient building that came down with the rest in 1830 and was said to be haunted by the ghost of the Major. People didn't set foot in the house for centuries and people who went inside claimed to be haunted by the ghost of him!
(Below) The bottom of the old West Bow before Victoria Street was built, with Major Tom Weir's house on the left.
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Some houses do still exist from the old West Bow that were not demolished for Victoria Street. In the photograph below there are houses on the left and right close up with steep gables pre-date 1650 and are from the original street!
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(Below) Major Tom Weir's House. I don't think I've ever seen a scarier looking house haha
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(Below) Painting by Louise Rayner showing the foot of the West Bow before some of it was demolished and redeveloped. It was in fact gone 10 years before Louise was born, and the painting is therefore a mix of other people's art and engravings and her own speculation.
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Another great loss was Glasgow University's old college. The university dates back to 1451, making it the 4th oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews. The Old College was built in the 1600s and was one of the centres for the Scottish Enlightenment. It remained the home of the university until 1870, when slums and pollution led to them moving to a new campus further west. However, the loss of the Old College was highly unpopular at the time, and one local businessman paid for many stone carvings to be moved to the new campus piece by piece.

Front entrance to the Old College, incorporating many of the renaissance features discussed further up. The bell-shaped clock tower is Dutch influenced and there are many other examples from that time:

This photo is titled 'The Exodus from the Old College', and marks the professors leaving the old building for the last time. The Lion and Unicorn staircase was a notable feature, with the lion representing England and the unicorn representing Scotland. Pairing them together marked the union of the Scottish and English thrones in 1603.

Pearce Lodge retains many of the Old College's carvings and serves as the gatehouse for the "new" campus:

The Lion and Unicorn staircase today:
There was quite a lot of demolition in Glasgow, especially of the slums - they seemed quite keen on it! What a pity.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
There was quite a lot of demolition in Glasgow, especially of the slums - they seemed quite keen on it! What a pity.
Yep, even the Victorians were pretty ruthless at destroying the past. I'll touch on Glasgow more when I start discussing the 18th century onwards.
 
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