Melvin & Leiper of Glasgow, architects. Foundation Stone
laid 23.6.1865. Damaged by fire 11.12.1882, and restored
1883, William Leiper, architect. Large, symmetrically planned
French Gothic former academy; 2 storeys and attic, with
square, central, 4-stage tower. Snecked ashlar with polished
dressings. Most openings hoodmoulded (some with cusped heads)
under pointed-arched mouldings; windows flanking tower mostly
have columned jambs and mullions, with foliated capitals.
Tower supported on square piers with arched openings between,
and main door recessed. 2nd stage of tower has window with
columns and gabled canopy to front elevation, simple single
lights to flanks; 3rd stage rises above eaves level, with
tall slender paired lancets to each face. Corbelled,
octagonal angle turrets at top stage, each with slender
shafts and pinnacles; simple rose window recessed in pointed
and gabled panel to each face between. Tower is flanked by
arcaded 5-light windows at ground floor, with single window
to outer bays; 3 plate-traceried windows at 1st floor with
single narrow light to outer bay; 3 gabled and barge-boarded
dormers with 8-pane upper sashes. Additional gabled doorway
at extreme left, corresponding gabled pend to right.
Continuous strings at cill and at impost level of each floor,
eaves course and bracketed main cornice (these all continued
across tower). Slate roof. East (rear) elevation: scars at
ground level of formerly adjoining burgh hall (now
demolished); 2 stair towers, each with pointed and facetted
roof, that to left taller, and reaching into attic. Narrow,
mullioned and transomed windows; rectangular roof lights and ventilators.
Statement of Special Interest
Originally, Thomas Gildard of Glasgow, architect, provided
plans for the academy, described as "Greco Italian ...
exceedingly chaste and elegant", but White of Overtoun
commissioned Melvin & Leiper to provide plans, and their
design was adopted.
(See Dumbarton Herald 18.2.1864 and 27.9.1867.)
The 1883 restoration excluded the tower steeple, and roof
pavilions (see illus in Dumbarton ancient and modern)
Up-graded category B to A 7 August,1995.