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- Category: B
- Date Added: 08/07/1993
- Local Authority: Fife
- Planning Authority: Fife
- Burgh: Dunfermline
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 9603 87514
- Coordinates: 309603, 687514
Muirhead and Rutherford, 1933-38. 2-storey with basement to S. Large rectangular-plan auditorium with flanking corner blocks at both ends and linking passage to E to adjacent separately listed Carnegie Music Institute (formerly Benachie House). Austere classical modern design with projecting 3-bay centrepieces with pilastered upper floors at either end (N and S). Coursed rockfaced sandstone with polished sandstone ashlar wraparound principal (N) elevation and dressings. Base course and eaves cornice to most parts (more boldly defined to principal elevation). Architraved windows except to lower floor of corner blocks to S. Architraved entrances throughout.
N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: raised projecting 3-bay centrepiece with piended roof. Triple entrance to ground floor; moulded architrave and large keystone to each doorway; each with 2-leaf panelled timber door with rectangular fanlight. Channelled ashlar to outer flanking sections. Moulded cornice flanking and between doorways; moulded cornice to centrepiece above 1st floor; decorated with Greek key motif over entrance. Window with moulded architrave and scrolled apron to each bay above; bays flanked and divided by fluted pilasters. Entablature with disk motifs to frieze and deep mutuled eaves cornice. 3 flanking set-back bays; regular fenestration, with deep lintels (those to ground floor windows inset slightly); central ground floor window to either side with heavier architrave and corniced; apron to central 1st floor window to each side.
S ELEVATION: projecting 3-bay centrepiece incorporated within raised slightly projecting 5-bay block with raised pediment-like parapet to flanking outer bays. 2 windows to basement of centrepiece; window set back slightly to flanking bays; all with tall keystones and deep slightly inset lintels; keystones join band course above basement to central 5 bays. Window with panel below to 1st floor to 3 centre bays; each flanked by and divided by fluted pilasters with disk motifs to capitals. Frieze above incorporates disk motifs and guttae and surmounted by deep mutuled eaves cornice. Narrow window with tall keystone and scroll-like apron to slightly set back flanking bays; angles defined by channelled quoins. Lower height flanking blocks; slightly irregular fenestration; 3 bays to left; 2 to right. Entrance set back to outer left.
E ELEVATION: 4 large corniced windows to auditorium to centre partly obscured by late 20th century single storey cafe extension to S of linking passage to Music Institute. Taller bay with pediment-like parapet adjoins to left; narrow window with keystone and apron to 1st floor; pair of windows to ground floor. Lower-height corner block with piended roof projects to outer left; irregular fenestration; entrance to right. Lower-height 2-storey bay projects to right of auditorium windows; ground floor opens into contemporary linking passage to Music Institute. Taller piend-roofed corner block adjoins to right; irregular fenestration with corniced stair window with apron to upper left; 2 windows with deep slightly inset lintels to ground floor.
W ELEVATION: 4 large corniced windows with aprons to auditorium to centre. Entrance porch with deep frieze above lintel projects to left; large 2-leaf panelled timber door with moulded architrave. Adjoins low irregularly fenestrated bay projecting to left. Taller piend-roofed corner block (also irregularly fenestrated) adjoins to left; corniced stair window with apron to upper right; 2 windows with deep slightly inset lintels to ground floor. Piend-roofed corner block projects to right of auditorium windows; narrow 1st floor window with apron and keystone; pair of windows to ground floor; corniced entrance with frieze to left return; narrow window with apron and keystone above. Lower-height piended-roofed section projects to right with steps in front sloping down to lower level to right; irregular fenestration; 2 upper and 2 lower windows; loading door to left return.
LINKING PASSAGE: single storey passage adjoining hall at right angles to E. 4-bay sandstone ashlar elevation to N; slightly projecting heavily architraved entrance to right. Adjoins late 20th century glazed lean-to passage (built across earlier single storey extension to Music Institute) to left. Passage obscured on S side by late 20th century single storey cafeteria.
Mainly multi-pane timber windows with top hung casements; border-glazed metal frames (possibly copper and brass) to upper floor of centrepiece to principal elevation; some smaller windows with diamond-pane leaded lights. Grey slate roofs, mainly piended. Wallhead stack with band course to SW at junction with lower-height flanking block.
INTERIOR: retains most of its original fixtures and fittings of classical/Art Deco design. Tiled and inlaid floor to entrance vestibule; flanking staircases with timber balustrades. Original timber wainscotting, single and 2-leaf timber doors, Art Deco stained glass light shades and decorative plasterwork throughout. Recessed ceilings with mutuled cornices to vestibule and cloakroom landing above. Triple 2-leaf glazed timber doors with rectangular fanlights set within principal entrance; main vestibule opens out behind flanking columns to entrance. Shallow segmental-arched ceiling to auditorium. Decorative corniced architraves to windows along either side; bays divided by pilasters supporting entablature incorporating disk motif. Sunburst detail to spandrels of proscenium arch; plaster bas-relief in ancient Greek style of 2 musicians and lyre above. Stained glass window of circa 1900 by Louis C Tiffany of New York, formerly installed in side window of auditorium, now incorporated in late 20th century cafeteria on E side. Auditorium seats copied and replaced, and fly towers replaced 2000. Original lighting with lighting desk in place.
BOUNDARY WALL AND STEPS: symmetrical double flight of steps leads from road to N of hall up to central terrace with single flight of steps at right angles leading up to entrance level. Coped coursed rock-faced sandstone walls. Coped sandstone ashlar parapet fronting onto road; balustrade to central terrace; square-plan piers at either end and flanking balustrade. Flanking adjacent walls to N and W of Carnegie Hall and Music Institute; largely of coped coursed rockfaced stone.
Statement of Special Interest
An important intact 1930s public building retaining most of its original interior fittings. It was erected by the Carnegie Trust, set up by the Dunfermline-born millionaire, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) to bring "sweetness and light" into the lives of the local population and was intended as a more modest version of its famous namesake in New York. The Tiffany window, now incorporated into the modern cafeteria, is of exceptional quality. It was commissioned by Carnegie, who had originally intended it to be installed in Dunfermline Abbey (however this was thought to be an inappropriate location). It is one of only 4 windows by Louis C Tiffany in Scotland (the others being at St Cuthbert's Church, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, Fyvie Parish Church and Morenish Chapel, by Killin).
List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.
John Gifford, FIFE, in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series (1988) p188; Bert McEwan, DUNFERMLINE - OUR HERITAGE (1998) pp42-44. Information courtesy of Hall Manager.
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