Historic Scotland Data Website
Results New Search


This building is in the Shetland Islands Council and the Lerwick Burgh. It is a category B building and was listed on 12/08/1996.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: HU 4800 4095.


W Laidlaw MacDougall and W W Reid, dated 1914-23, with boundary walls by John M Aitken. 2-storey and attic, 3-bay symmetrical hostel with classical details, gabled 3-storey wings projecting at rear giving U-plan. Harled walls with polished and droved ashlar dressings and details. Base course, cill course at 2nd floor, band course and mutuled cornice at eaves. Stop-chamfered window arrises. Stone transoms to ground floor windows.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical, channelled pilasters framing elevation and broad centre bay, entrance door with panelled pilasters recessed at ground behind distyle screen of Tuscan columns; stone steps to glazed and panelled timber entrance door with semicircular 6-pane fanlight at centre, flanking 6-pane timber fixed-lights with matching fanlights above. Entablature corbelled out to frieze bearing script "BRUCE HOSTEL" with flanking heart sculptures; 5-light window at 1st floor, downward-swept parapet breaking eaves above with segmental-arched armorial panel containing date 1919 and shield at centre. 7-light mullioned and canted bays at ground in outer bays; tripartite windows at 1st floor framed by channelled pilasters, segmental-arched pediments at eaves.

SE ELEVATION: asymmetrical, 3-bay end elevation of principal block to right framed by channelled pilasters, transomed windows at ground, bipartite at bay to left, additional window at 1st floor to left of centre bay. 2-bay wing recessed at left, transomed windows at ground, 2 in bay to left, 3 narrow windows in bay to right with door below that at centre. Regular fenestration at 1st and 2nd floors, bipartite windows, gabled dormerheads breaking eaves at 2nd floor.

NW ELEVATION: mirrored image of SE elevation; except bipartite window at ground floor blind, mullioned bipartite windows at ground floor of wing.

SW (REAR) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical, modern infill at centre, flanking gabled wings, each with 2 windows in inner left bay at ground, narrow window offset to left, door in inner right bay, tripartite windows at 1st and 2nd floors.

Modern glazing throughout. Purple-grey slate roof, piended and bell-cast to main block, cast-iron gutters and downpipes with semi-octagonal hoppers, red terracotta ridge tiles with finials. Corniced timber dormers to NE pitch, bipartite at centre and outer bays, tripartite at SE and NW pitches. Overhanging timber eaves to wings, slate roofs with terracotta ridge tiles to dormers. Harled wallhead stacks at SE and NW elevations of main block, deep ashlar copes with battered red circular cans.

INTERIOR: entrance hall; decorative timber floor, vertically-boarded timber panels to dado with incised hearts to rail. 6-panel architraved doors. Timber screen below staircase (matching dado) with arched and glazed upper section. Ornate bronze urn supported by Chinese figures and surmounted by eagle (2 dragons recently removed). Timber stair and balustrade with panelled newels and incised hearts in urn finials; plain square balusters with octagonal stanchions and incised hearts, herringbone patterned soffit. 3-pane stair window with border glazing. Pair of architraved 3-pane round-arched with bracketted cills at 1st floor landing. Timber chimneypieces in rooms flanking hall.

TERRACES: ashlar steps at centre with channelled parapets terminated by dies with bases and caps; flanking harled retaining walls with ashlar balustraded parapet, circular bastions at corners to outer left and right with crenellated parapets, terrace returned along side elevations. Secondary terrace wall to NE, random rubble wall with channelled cope, wide opening at centre, stugged drum piers with channelled caps. Wall terminated to N and S by conical-capped drum piers integral with boundary walls.

BOUNDARY AND RETAINING WALLS: boundary random rubble retaining wall to W, terminated to N by harled drum gatepiers with bases and conical caps. Random rubble boundary walls to N, S, and W with square-section channelled cope. 2-leaf timber entrance gates to NW; incised hearts and trefoils, with wrought-iron hinges, square ashlar piers with corniced caps; flanking stugged squared and snecked quadrant walls with base course and blind arrowslits, curving forward to drum piers with arrowslits and conical caps. Stone steps at centre, square piers at top with bases, caps and urns matching internal stair. Random rubble quadrant wall at NE corner, stugged, stop-chamfered gatepiers, 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber gates with wrought-iron hinges, cope oversailing as arch with keystone bearing heart motif at centre. Stugged ashlar drum piers with bases and conical caps flanking quadrant.


Although dated 1919, construction work had already begun in 1914 and was not completed until 1923. It was gifted by Robert Hunter Bruce of Sumburgh and Lunna. W Laidlaw MacDougall was the agent of the Sumburgh estate, and W W Reid was later to become burgh surveyor. The loosely baroque detailing suggests that its design might have been influenced by J J Burnet?s Bank of Scotland. John M Aitken was the contractor, and is credited with the design of the perimeter walls, gates, and gatepiers. Like the neighbouring Anderson Institute, this building is a striking feature on the burgh?s skyline, particularly when arriving by sea. It is of good quality construction and an important part of the history of education in Shetland.


Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p31. James W Irvine LERWICK (1985) p165, plate 42. Thomas Manson LERWICK DURING THE LAST HALF CENTURY (1991) p4 and 165. John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p489.

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

Results New Search

Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).