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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: B
  • Date Added: 08/12/1971


  • Local Authority: Shetland Islands
  • Planning Authority: Shetland Islands
  • Burgh: Lerwick

National Grid Reference

  • NGRHU 47819 41278
  • Coordinates447819, 1141278


1767-70 with late 19th and early 20th century alterations. 2-storey over laigh floor, 5-bay symmetrical former town house of rectangular plan on sloping site. Cement-rendered walls (lined to principal front) with sandstone ashlar dressings and details; 2-storey stugged sandstone extension, droved at arrises, projecting at rear. Band course at 1st floor, cavetto-moulded eaves cornice, long and short rusticated quoins framing elevations, some window margins surviving.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical, 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber entrance door with 2-pane fanlight above centred at ground, approached by modern ramp, windows flanking centre bay, regular fenestration at 1st floor.

W ELEVATION: 2-bay near-symmetrical gable, regular fenestration, harled concrete stair to modern door inserted at principal floor in bay to left, blind windows at 1st floor.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: symmetrical, 3 widely spaced bays to original elevation fronted by single-storey over basement 4-bay extension with curved corners corbelled out to square at floor above. Shop windows in each bay at ground, doors between bays, centre door partially infilled with glazed upper, 6-panel 2-leaf timber doors in penultimate bays to left and right; regular fenestration at floors above.

E ELEVATION: 2-bay near symmetrical gable, vertically-boarded timber basement door with 6-pane upper at outer right, regular fenestration to floors above, blind window at 1st floor in bay to right.

2-pane fixed-lights to shop windows, 4-pane timber sash and case windows elsewhere. Purple-grey slate roof with cast-iron gutters and downpipes. Harled and margined apex stacks, coped with circular cans, stugged sandstone wallhead stacks to sides of extension, corniced with circular and octagonal cans. Cement-rendered ashlar skew copes with scrolled skewputts.

Statement of Special Interest

Built on the site of a 17th century predecessor, MacGibbon and Ross visited this building in 1892, and commented that "the style of the seventeenth century took a considerable time to reach the Shetlands". Their view shows it complete with clock tower (removed in 1927) and a stone stair accessing the architraved and corniced entrance door which is strikingly similar to that erected in the courtyard at Lochend House (see separate listing). A photograph by George Washington Wilson shows the rear elevation before being added to. After construction of the Town Hall, the Tolbooth served as Lerwick Post Office until 1910. Removal of the clock tower was a sad loss for the harbour and town skyline. Its re-instatement might encourage a serious look at restoring this important building's hidden qualities.



Aurora YESC, DA STREET (1994). Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990), p13. Tom Henderson SHETLAND FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS (1978) plates 45 and 48. James W Irvine LERWICK (1985) p37 and 51 plate 26. E J F Clausen and T M Y Manson 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LERWICK PARISH CHURCH (1979) p17. Norman Hudson SOUVENIR POSTCARDS FROM SHETLAND (1992) p13. John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p494. Thomas Manson LERWICK DURING THE LAST HALF CENTURY (1991) p134 plates 2 and 3.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, 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

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.

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