Principal corner block R & R Dickson, 1827-8; Nos 31-39 Queen Charlotte street early 19th century, Nos 31 and 33 remodelled and incorporated into town hall James Simpson, 1868; Nos 75-79 Constitution Street circa 1870; No 41 Queen Charlotte James Simpson, 1903. Large complex of 3-storey purpose-built town hall with classical details on corner site, later incorporating neighbouring 3-storey tenements, additions of circa 1870 to N, additions of 1903 to E. Cream sandstone, polished ashlar front, squared and snecked rubble to rear.
FORMER TOWN HALL, 75-81 CONSTITUTION STREET AND 29 QUEEN CHARLOTTE STREET: channelled ground floor with segmental-arched openings; angle pilasters; broad frieze with dentilled eaves cornice, blocking course bearing large corniced and scroll-flanked tablets with inscriptions.
S (QUEEN CHARLOTTE STREET) ELEVATION: 5-bay; 3 centre bays slightly advanced and channelled, Doric portico at ground floor, doorway with 2-leaf panelled door flanked by small windows; Venetian window at 1st floor, round-arched window at centre recessed with moulded pilasters and consoled imposts, small windows over outer lights; 3 small windows at 2nd floor. Single windows to outer bays. Inscription 'Town Hall R & R Dickson, architects' to tablet.
W (CONSTITUTION STREET) ELEVATION: 5-bay main block to right; 2-storey 3-bay later addition (circa 1870) to left. Main block with secondary doorway at centre; 3 centre bays above recessed and divided by engaged Ionic columns; 1st floor windows architraved, alternating corniced and pedimented; smaller windows at 2nd floor. Inscription 'Erected by Magistrates and Masters, 1828' to tablet. 3-bay addition with pend flanked by doorways with triangular heads and antefixae; 1st floor recessed with upwards tapering windows with shouldered architraves divided by Ionic columns; eaves cornice and blocking course bearing scroll-flanked tablet; channelled angle pilaster to outer left with panelled dies and urn finial.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: addition blank; main block above with tripartite windows flanking blocked single window; blank panelled tablet with angle dies.
FORMER TENEMENT, 31-37 QUEEN CHARLOTTE STREET:
S (FRONT) ELEVATION: 11-bay; 3-storey with attic and basement; No 31 rock-faced basement; polished ashlar rusticated ground floor; stugged ashlar with polished dressings above; band course above ground floor; cill band course at 1st floor; eaves cornice and blocking course; 1st floor windows architraved and corniced. Single windows per bay and floor; 5 rectangular tripartite dormers. Round-arched doorway to outer left with engaged fluted Corinthian columns and dentilled cornice, ornamental iron gates, round-arched door with etched glass, ornate plasterwork to vestibule. Plain doorway to right of centre with 2-leaf panelled door and rectangular plate glass fanlight.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: raised to 4-storey; much altered irregular openings with stepped stair windows and tripartite stair window to centre. Glazed walkway at ground floor.
FORMER TENEMENT, 39-41 QUEEN CHARLOTTE STREET: James Simpson, 1903.
S (FRONT) ELEVATION: 2-storey; 4-bay; rusticated ground floor; 1st floor windows architraved; eaves cornice with tall parapet. Bay to left advanced secondary doorway at ground floor flanked by narrow windows; tripartite window at 1st floor. To right secondary doorway flanked by single window and pend (now blocked) to right; single windows at 1st floor.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: single storey, rectangular-plan brick-built gym and boxing hall to rear.
Timber sash and case windows, mostly plate glass glazing and 12-pane windows. Slate roofs with metal flashings. Mutual and gable stacks to Nos 31-17. Piended slate-hung dormers to tenement bays.
INTERIOR: 2-storey cell block with central staircase lit by skylights with 1st floor balcony on iron brackets with thick spiky railings. Eclectic decorative schemes, Grecian Renaissance and Jacobean. Former sheriff court room in 1870s addition with shallow-relief plasterwork ceiling, anthemion and palmette frieze and distinctive classical timber doorpieces (matched throughout in later alterations). Queen Charlotte Street building with lavishly decorated stair hall, ornate plasterwork to walls and ceilings and carved timber staircase, armorial stained glass to round-arched Venetian window. Doorway to council chamber with Corinthian doorpiece and emblem of Leith; former council chamber (James Simpson, decorated by Thomas Bonnar Jr, 1891-2) with highly ornamented painted compartmental ceiling with elaborate plasterwork, foliage pendants with light fittings, timber panelling throughout, exposed heating system with ornamental iron grilles and ducts, doorcases as above with brass fixtures. Offices with extensive woodwork, doors and windows with leaded lights and coloured borders. Conference room with timber panelling and elaborately carved timber fireplace. Gent?s toilet to No 35 with yellow and blue tiled dado, fine original fittings of black and white marble wash-hand basin, urinals and cistern with glass front, brass fittings. Gym hall with arched brace roof on stone corbels with tension rods and continuous skylights.
RAILINGS: low boundary wall to front of Nos 31-41, ornamental iron gates and railings.
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, Annex 2, pp74-76.
The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.
Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.
Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.
Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.
Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.