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- Category: B
- Group Category Details: A
- see notes
- Date Added: 03/07/1980
- Local Authority: East Ayrshire
- Planning Authority: East Ayrshire
- Burgh: Kilmarnock
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 42723 38122
- Coordinates: 242723, 638122
J & RS Ingram; Andrew Calderwood, builder; James Rome, joiner. 1874, opened March 1875. 2-storey, 9-bay symmetrical range (3-3-3 -bay former Operetta House) with Italian Renaissance detail. Polished red sandstone ashlar, channelled to ground floor. Blocking course and cornice.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3-bay central entrance with paired, engaged Roman Doric doorpiece, door to left, window to right; to 1st floor, 3 arched windows elaborately detailed with outer paired Corinthian pilasters and inner engaged columns, floreate spandrels and mask keystone; apron panels under windows, except central, which has blind balustrade. Mutule cornice to central bays; blocking course advanced out over pilasters. To bays 1-3: modern shop facade, now boarded up; 3 regularly placed bays to 1st floor with bracketed cornices and apron panels, central with triangular pediment; cornice surmounting. To bays 7-9: to ground floor bays 7 & 8 modern shop facade, now boarded up, boarded up door to 9th bay; 3 regularly placed bays to 1st floor with bracketed cornices and apron panels, central with triangular pediment; cornice surmounting.
E (REAR) ELEVATION: U-plan, comprising coursed rubble rear of facade and side walls.
Glazing and roofing plans now lost due to fire at end of 20th century.
INTERIOR: no longer in existence after fire.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of the John Finnie Street A-Group. John Finnie Street is nearly ? mile long and was built around 1864. It provided a grand thoroughfare for the town with the focal point to the north being the railway station. Business and commerce spread to this street and rows of high quality, 3-storey or more, red sandstone building were constructed. The ground floors were given over to retail, offices and accommodation were above. The street dominated the lower, narrower streets in Kilmarnock that were filled with traditional buildings. The street's architect was William Railton, who went on to design the Kilmarnock Infirmary (now demolished) and the surveyor was Robert Blackwood. Not long after the street was built, Archibald Adamson noted the number of handsome buildings. The foundation stone for this building was laid by John Gilmour Esq. of Elmbank. Built in the Italian style, the new operetta house sat 1500. The first leasees of the building were Messers Glover and Francis connected with the Royal Theatre in Glasgow. The first show to be performed in the building was "Guy Mannering" by Sir Walter Scott. The building was erected by a Joint-Stock Company and cost £7000. The architects, builders and joiners were all local. James and Robert Ingram designed the building. Andrew Calderwood, who later worked on the Burns Monument with Robert Ingram, was the builder. James Rome, the joiner, had his premises in Waterside Street and also had a hand in constructing many of the smaller cottage type houses in Kilmarnock. After the Operetta House ceased to trade it was a church (circa 1930/40) and latterly a pub and night club. Facade only left after fire destroyed the building behind.
James McKie, PLAN OF THE TOWN OF KILMARNOCK (1868) showing newly constructed John Finnie Street. BUILDING NEWS (1874, April 17th) p433. Archibald Adamson, RAMBLES AROUND KILMARNOCK (1875) p3. Charles Reid, PLAN OF THE TOWN OF KILMARNOCK (1880) showing "blocks" on John Finnie Street. Francis Groome, ORDNANCE SURVEY GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, VOL IV (1883) p373. 25"/mile ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP (1896) showing building. Rob Close, AYRSHIRE & ARRAN - AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1994) pp103-105. Frank Beattie, STREETS AND NEUKS, OLD KILMARNOCK (2000) p38.
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