ST JOHN STREET AND HALL STREET, PUBLIC LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, WITH LIBRARIAN'S HOUSE, GARDEN, RAILINGS, GATES, AND GATEPIERS (Ref:22964)
This building is in the Argyll And Bute Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 02/10/1984.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NR 7210 2033.
John James Burnet, 1897-8. Single and 2-storey over concealed basement, 9 x 8-bay Free Scots Renaissance, asymmetrically composed, Library and Museum of L-plan crowned with lantern cupola. Bull-faced, squared and snecked rubble with contrasting polished red sandstone dressings. Corbel course to canted bays.
SE (ST JOHN STREET) ELEVATION: 9 bays, (grouped 3-3-1-2) including angled bay of canted end at outer right. Bold, Mannerist entrance at 7th bay with engaged columns supporting individual entablatures and urns. Architraved panel with carved inscription over door, aediculed window in gable above, latter with diminutive apex pediment. 3 tall closely-spaced canted windows to left, mullioned and transomed with balustraded parapet with segmentally-arched niches in dividing dies.
3 bays to outer left with windows set in round-arched panels. To right of door, single bay with matching canted bay to outer right, balustraded parapet with niched dies (as above).
NE (HALL STREET) ELEVATION: 8 bays, including angled bay of canted end at outer left. 3 bays to outer left; advanced canted end of principal front, transomed windows, centre one with corniced and bracketted mullion supporting flanking decorative attached columns and segmentally-pedimented panel containing carved armorial.
4th bay, single storey corniced and parapetted projection in re-entrant of canted bays to left, bipartite windows and service hatch at ground floor and basement. L-section wallhead stack in re-entrant angle, abutting dormer window with swan-neck stone pediment, canted stair tower with slit windows, breaking eaves in polygonal roof to right.
Bays to right with battered cill course at ground floor and mutuled cornice at eaves, linked by recessed full-height panels with roll-moulded arrises to each bay containing bipartite windows at ground and 1st floors, and with carved reliefs of tradesmen between. Carved panels with monograms between bays at 1st floor.
SW (SHORE STREET) ELEVATION: gable end to principal front, corniced window at upper level in round arched recess. Small semicircular pediment at apex of gable.
SW (REAR COURTYARD) ELEVATION: 1st four bays detailed as corresponding bays of NE elevation except for door at 3rd bay ground floor, and uncarved panels between windows. 5th bay, access stair leading down to basement with curved timber sliding ships hatch cover, window at ground floor with corniced cill and roll-moulded arrises, coped wallhead breaking eaves. Blind, corniced opening above with chamfered arrises. Door at ground floor, 6th bay under covered walkway, roll-moulded surround set in round-arched recess, keystone with corbel above supporting roof purlin. Window at 1st floor with triangular stone dormerhead containing monogrammed panel.
NE (REAR COURTYARD) ELEVATION: covered walkway spanning ground with catslide roof swept down from main pitch on cobelled timber brackets (no posts); 4 bays, grouped 1-2-1, cement seat at base with corresponding corniced wall-seat opposite, tiled and granolithic walkway between. Mullioned windows with chamfered arrisses, bipartite at bay to left, tripartite at centre bays. Museum entrance door at bay to outer right, roll-moulded upper surround, carved banner across lintel bearing script reading MUSEUM, keystone at centre with carved bearded mask and hourglass.
Timber sash and case and casement windows, multi-pane to most openings, with stained and leaded upper sashes to reading rooms, plate glass at library 1st floor bipartite windows. Modern timber entrance doors. 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber doors with stylised hinges to garden, 6-panel inner door with angled square glazed pane at centre. Green slate roofs, piended at canted end and stair tower, curved over bartizan. Octagonal glazed cupola on square slate-hung timber plinth at crossing of principal ridges, with bellcast roof over bracketted cornice, surmounted by miniature louvered capping cupola. Ridges and cupola terminated with lead finials. 14-pane rooflights to each pitch over museum. Cast-iron gutters and downpipes, profiled gutters at principal eaves, decorative hopper at Librarian?s house. Bull-faced, squared and snecked stacks with red ashlar dressings and cornices. 6-flue stack at ridge over party wall between library and museum, 3-flue L-plan wallhead stack at Lady?s reading room, 4-flue apex stack at NW gable of Librarian?s house, all with circular cans, mostly of original pattern. Red sandstone ashlar skew copes with dressed rubble block skewputts at principal gables.
INTERIOR: outstanding original decorative scheme and craftsmanship surviving. Entrance hall; canted panelled timber entrance vestibule, paired inner entrance doors with 6-pane glazed uppers and original brass ironmongery, rectangular fan lights above fronted by paired balusters, open segmental pediment at centre. 2-arch arcaded openings in flanking walls with red sandstone ashlar voussoirs and octagonal piers between, etched and leaded glass infill bearing names of famous authors, glazed 2-leaf doors with original ironmongery to reading rooms. Garden door beyond to left with carved shields and cornice above, doorway to right. Round-arched opening in rear wall (opposite entrance) to former closed library. Glazed canted timber screen with flanking glazed doors surmounted by plain balustrade with clock by Thos. Hunter of Campbeltown in segmentally-arched panel at centre. U-plan timber desk (formerly for closed library) behind with indicator board and 16-pane skylight in ceiling. Open timber roof, 4 crossed major beams on stone corbels supporting lantern, timber board lining to roof and lantern. Ormolu and timber model of Temple of Solomon, presented in 1920 by Duncan McKinnon of Balnakill in pyramidal glass and timber case with octagonal legs.
LADIES READING ROOM; panelled wainscoting, upswept at window reveals. Tall fireplace in NW wall, cast-iron grate in tiled arch, red ashlar surround with wide lintel, timber chimneypiece comprising lugged architrave with flanking pilasters and mutuled corniced shelf. Plaster cartouche centring chimneybreast with open bracketted pediment intersecting with plain cornice. Coved ceiling with simple strapwork. Original timber reading desk with hat stands at ends, chairs (some swivelling) with Campbeltown Public Library 1898 monogram on curved backs.
MEN?S READING ROOM; panelled dado, upswept at window reveals, large fireplace comprising cast-iron grate within tiled arch, red ashlar surround, timber chimneypiece with lugged architrave and bracketted shelf, continued as hoodmoulds over museum entrance doors. Corniced stone corbels supporting panelled timber beams, coved plaster ceilings between.
MUSEUM; embossed leather covered entrance doors with glazed uppers
from reading room. Low timber shelf over cast-iron heating pipes at floor level, plain panelling to cill level, vertical boarding to walls above with cornice at top, gas fittings in window recesses. Secondary, larger, cornice above supported on and advanced a scrolled brackets. Barrel vaulted plaster trabeated ceiling, 3 semicircular ribs supporting 28-pane cupola at centre, bold bracketted cornice with triglyphs around opening. Large scrolled brackets at cupola ends, intersecting with circular, architraved ventilators. Advanced chimney breast in NE wall with large fireplace, matching that in men?s reading room, with portrait of J M Hall of Killean and Tangy above. Good selection of timber display cases.
LIBRARIAN?S HOUSE: 2-bay, 2-storey house adjoining rear elevation of Museum. Entrance door to Shore street at bay to right, string course at 1st floor articulated around uncarved armorial panel over door, dormer window breaking eaves above, with corniced cill and semicircular stone dormerhead. Circular bartizan with 2 windows corbelled out at corner to outer left.
RAILINGS: dwarf walls to street elevations with red sandstone ashlar cope surmounted by wrought-iron railing, terminated with Art Nouveau influenced decorative ironwork at main entrance. Wrought-iron gates to Hall Street and Shore Street. Square, stop-chamfered, red sandstone ashlar piers with carved floreate swags and shallow pyramidal caps flanking main entrance, and at Librarian?s house and street corners.
In January 1899, the Campbeltown Courier reported: "The library and museum have now been completed and opened and everyone who inspects the building will confess that it has been finished in a style which amply justifies the time spent on it. The structure is a handsome and commodious one situated at the corner of the Esplanade and St John Street. The building is L shape in plan and the ground open to Shore Street is laid out as a garden to form an adjunct to the museum for the exhibition of archaeological and other exhibits not requiring cover. In front there is an ample promenade while seats are placed at intervals. Internally the buildings are divided into a library 47ft long and 24ft wide and capable of containing over 10,000 volumes, a ladies reading room 24ft x 18ft, a general reading room 37ft x 24ft, and a general hall or news room 36ft x 19ft. The latter is the general vestibule and gives independent access to each department. In the library or book store the finish is of the simplest. The book racks are in the centre of the floor clear of the outside walls and everything is done to reduce the harbour of dust and the risk of damp. The museum has been handsomely furnished, the cases containing the exhibits being arranged with neatness and taste. This room is lighted primarily from the roof, small side windows which may be closed when the room is used as a picture gallery, give interest and afford opportunities of suitably lighting cases containing those smaller exhibits which depend for their interest on closer inspection. Though entered from or through the general reading room the museum has an independent access from the hall through a covered walkway or cloister passing along one side of the garden and it is intended that the walls of this cloister shall also be used for exhibition purposes. The ornamentation of the exterior is very striking. Chaste carvings adorn the walls while a handsome cupola towering over the edifice enhances the effect of the ornamentation. It is thought the total cost to Mr Hall would not be under ?12,000". This is a building designed in a controlled imaginative style by an architect important in Glasgow and other parts of Western Scotland at the end of the 19th century, and is built in the best quality materials and finishes.
Dorothy E Grant WORK OF J J BURNET IN CAMPBELTOWN (1986) Murdo MacDonald, "Campbeltown?s Glasgow Face" THE KINTYRE ANTIQUARIAN & NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY MAGAZINE (No 29) p21 CAMPBELTOWN COURIER (18.10.1890, 25.10.1890, 3.11.1894, 11.1.1896, 28.1.1899, 20.4.1901, 27.4.1901, 25.5.1901, 17.2.1906) ARGYLLSHIRE HERALD (31.12.1898 (Ill)) "THE BUILDER" 4.9.1897.
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