C & L Ower, 1897-8. 2-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, crow-step gabled, Scots Baronial hall and library with prominent, central, 5-stage clock tower to principal elevation at W. Red sandstone ashlar. Base course, band courses, cornice, crennelated parapet. Bartizans to corners. Multi-pane window openings with stone transoms and mullions. Piended roof halls to rear (E) with ridge ventilation lantern and triangular ventilation openings.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical. Central projecting open sided porch with broken segmental arched pediment with INGLIS MEMORIAL HALL depicted in mosaic in tympanum. Porch with round-arched openings; piers with engaged Corinthian columns and pilasters. Steps lead to timber panelled vestibule with tiles to ground with INGLIS MEMORIAL HALL depicted. Timber 2-leaf doors with timber side panels and large, decorative semi-circular fanlight above lead to inner part-glazed timber swing doors. 5-stage round tower above with stone slated octagonal pinnacled spire with lucarnes; Octagonal, corbelled 4th stage with alternate clock faces and balconied bays; Dentilled cornice. Symmetrical gabled bays flanking tower.
S ELEVATION: asymmetrical. 6-bay with lower single bay to far right; 4-light bowed bay to lower ground at left with small, square 8-lights to upper section. Central 3 bays with tall, 3-light window openings with 9-square, smaller window openings above.
N ELEVATION: asymmetrical. 4-light bowed bay to lower ground at right with small, square 8-lights to upper section. Off-centre crow-stepped gable to left.
Predominantly fixed glazing with stained glass. Some casement windows with diamond pane leaded glass to upper storey. Graded grey slates. Corniced apex stacks to gables. Cast iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: high-quality decorative interior with original room layout intact and containing 2 public halls, separate library and a number of other rooms. Entrance hall with decorative glazed tiles to walls and tesserae tiled floor. Main hall with timber gallery and stage; segmental arches to ceiling divide bays; Clerestorey windows to N. Panelled timber doors throughout. Number of rooms with simple cornicing, high skirtings and decorative timber fire surrounds. Stained glass throughout depicting flora, fauna, family crests and some with Scots mottos.
LIBRARY: to left of entrance. Rectangular room with tight iron spiral staircase to right leading to bracketted iron mezzanine level with metal railing and to upper floor. Integral timber bookcases. Timber panelling with part-glazed timber screen with door and integral timber and glass Cotgreave Indicator.
BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: to W and S. Low, coped ashlar wall to W with pairs of gatepiers to N and S. Round gatepiers with base courses, and pyramidal caps, surmounted by lamp standards. Taller coped wall to S.
Statement of Special Interest
This is an excellent example of a distinctive community hall which contains a rare example of a little altered 19th century public library. The substantial hall building with its tall, clock tower is a prominent building in the streetscape of Edzell and adds significantly to the character of the village. Externally, the building is well-detailed with typical Scots Baronial features, including crow-steps and bartizans and the stained glass adds much to the interest of the building. Internally, the building is finely decorated throughout with original features and the library in particular is an excellent Example of an increasingly rare type of library.
Although many public libraries were opened over the latter part of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century most have now undergone alteration, even if they survive as libraries. The one at Edzell is an unusual survivor which retains its original fittings and fixtures, including a rare example of a working Cotgreave Indicator. These indicators were introduced because initially the public were not allowed open access to the books. People chose a book from a catalogue, and the Indicator. showed whether the book was in stock, or had been taken out. They were phased out gradually as the public were allowed direct access to the books.
The community Hall was gifted to Edzell by the local philanthropist Lt Col Robert William Inglis in memory of his parents. The book donation of around 6000 books which he gave to the library is still intact and retained within the library. The stained glass windows are by the Glasgow firm, Wm Meikle & Sons, which produced stained glass from 1886 until the 1930s.
Charles and Leslie Ower (1874-1898) formed an architectural practice together in Dundee. They had both previously worked for their father, Charles Ower, also an architect. The brothers' partnership was initially successful, with a large quantity of work completed, largely around Dundee. They were of different temperaments and the partnership dissolved in 1898.
Category changed from B to A in 2011.