Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NO 4042 3019
340420, 730190


James Thomson Dundee City Architect, assisted by Vernon Constable 1913-1922, interior work executed by Scott Morton. Imposing, well-detailed, monumental rectangular-plan, city centre concert hall with notable Leipzig-type interior to main hall and French Rococo interior to subsidiary Marryat Hall. Office complex, including former Council Chambers suite with figurative coloured glass, in 2 additional storeys in fall of ground to Crichton Street, Shore Terrace and Castle Street. City Square (NW) facade with Roman Doric colonnade 13 bays long on stepped stylobate, end bays panelled square piers, inner bays fluted columns, plain frieze but mutuled cornice. 3 central doors in arched recesses, raised channel-jointed surrounds, similar end doors beyond colonnade. Polished sandstone ashlar with roofs partly low pitched slate and partly flat.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 3-storey facades to Castle Street (NE) and Shore Terrace (SE), and symmetrical 7-bay elevation to Crichton Street (SW) with additional bay to left, western end of composition partly overlaid by modern additions. Commemorative foundation stones to SW corner.

INTERIOR: Leipzig-type concert hall with good classical details, very fine plasterwork, flat compartmentalised ceiling, U-plan gallery, large organ case at stage. Subsidiary Marryat Hall in French Rococo manner with elaborate plasterwork throughout, pilasters, square columns, mirrors and early electroliers. Hall and stairs terrazzo floored, and with marble and mahogany panelling and good plasterwork. Administrative offices at upper and lower basement levels, those beneath Marryat Hall originally built as Council Chambers suite with decorative figurative glazing. Low market arcade at Shore Terrace level now incorporated into offices.

Statement of Special Interest

The Caird Hall occupies a commanding location overlooking Dundee's City Square where it makes a significant architectural contribution to this high profile public space. The quality of design is carried through to its outstandingly fine interiors as well as the outer elevations. The Caird Hall was built at a cost of £100,000 and it is named after Sir James Caird, a local industrialist who partly financed it. The building was completed after the First World War with the financial assistance of Caird's sister, Mrs Emma Grace Marryat. The foundation stones were laid by King George V and Queen Mary who pressed emerald and jade buttons respectively within Sir James Caird's Ashton Works at Hawkhill, a mile away. The emerald button was subsequently incorporated into the Lord Provost's Chain of Office. The building of the City Square complex caused the demolition of notable 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings including Provost Pierson's House, Strathmartine's Lodging, The Vault, and the Old Town House designed by William Adam. The Hall was used for occasional film showings, the last known one being in 1945.

Architect James Thomson also designed the 1909 King's Theatre in Dundee's Cowgate (see separate listing), which later became known as the Garrison. Peter states that King's 'was perhaps the most outstanding of Dundee's theatres' (pp198-202). After a number of reworkings, the King's Theatre was finally turned into a themed pub 1998. Thomson's other Dundee commissions include the Carnegie libraries at Blackness and Coldside, Dundee Town House restoration and housing schemes at Logie, Stirling Park and Taybank.

Category revised from B to A as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2008-09.



A Guide To The City Chambers (1992), research by City of Dundee District Council Planning Department; McKean and Walker RIAS Dundee An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1993), p16-18. Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999), pp198-202. [accessed 27.04.09]. The Builder (Late 1923), pp682, 684 (plans, illus). [accessed 27.04.09].

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

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.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. 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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Printed: 18/02/2019 17:03