Listed Building

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 – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

6, 7, 8 and 9 Market Square (former court house and police station), excluding detached brick shed and boundary walls to rear, Kilsyth.LB36224

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
North Lanarkshire
Planning Authority
North Lanarkshire
NS 71827 77834
271827, 677834


Designed by William Simpson in 1862 possibly incorporating earlier fabric and with early 20th century additions and alterations. This building is an irregular plan, two-storey, eight-bay former court house and police station at the centre of the historic burgh of Kilsyth. It is built in coursed and squared rubble with a stone base course and chamfered window openings.

The right part of the south (principal) elevation (Nos 8 and 9) has four stone gabled dormer windows breaking the eaves of the former courtroom at the first floor. The ground floor openings are irregular. At the centre is a door and three windows under a stepped hoodmould. There is a pend opening to the far right providing access to the rear yard area. The left part of the principal elevation (Nos 6 and 7) has a large wallhead gable and chimney. Below this is a plainer stepped hoodmould over two doors with a small window between them. The four applied colour panel crests and flagpoles are thought to have been added in the later 20th century.

The rear elevations of Nos 8 and 9 have a variety of later brick additions dating to the early 20th century to create a police station and cells. The larger (now reduced) perpendicular range houses the former police cells. The 1862 forestair is now enclosed by these later additions. There is an earlier 19th century curved stone stair to the rear of Nos 6 and 7. This elevation is mostly built in rubble with a small upper floor infill section in brick.

There is a predominantly 12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows. The buildings have corniced ashlar ridge chimney stacks with clay cans and stone straight skews with shaped skewputts. There are graduated slate roofs and cast iron rainwater goods. There is a single stone wallhead chimney stack to the rear. Over the rear first floor entrance door (No 8) there are remnants of a street light bracket.

Part of the interior was seen in 2017 and detailing from several periods survives. The former courtroom is on the first floor of No 8. It has three windows, a plain coved ceiling and an external door to a rear staircase. Off this room is a small room with similar ceiling and a painted stone or marble fireplace surround. The ground floor is a suite of offices. Two rooms have timber panelling to dado height and late 19th century style cast iron and tiled fireplaces.

The (truncated) early 20th century addition at the rear of No 8 has part of the former cell block corridor and two former police station cells. The cells are clad in glazed white tiles and one has a heavy metal door with a viewing hatch. No 9 is a simple two room retail premises that shares ancillary accommodation with No 8 to the rear. Both Nos 8 and 9 have half margined glazed vestibule doors.

The interiors of Nos 6 and 7 were not seen. Sales particulars (2017) show No 6 is a retail premises with early 21st century detailing. No 7 is a residential upper floor flat.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the detached brick shed and boundary walls to the rear.

Statement of Special Interest

6, 7, 8, and 9 Market Square is a good example of a mid-19th century former court house that was built soon after the Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland) Act of 1860, a period of significant change in court buildings in Scotland. The building is designed in a Tudor style and has good stonework. Its principal elevation remains largely unchanged from the time that it was built. The early 20th century alterations and additions to increase the police accommodation evidence the development of this building.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the detached brick shed and boundary walls to the rear.

Age and Rarity

Kilsyth Court House was built from 1862 on the site of a smaller former court house on Market Square. The earlier building is shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1859, published 1865) and had forestairs to the principal elevation. The 1862 building is evident on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Town Plan (surveyed 1896, published 1898). This map shows a variety of outshots to the rear of the building including the forestair, as well as the pend to the east and further detached buildings to the rear which have since been demolished.

In the early 19th century Kilsyth expanded because of the growth of local industries, such as quarrying, coal mining and weaving, due to the opening of the canal. In 1826, the original 1620 charter that made Kilsyth a burgh of barony was renewed. Accordingly this growing town needed civic buildings. The Stirling Observer of 14 August 1862 recorded that a grand ceremony had taken place the previous Friday marking the laying of the foundation stones for two important new civic buildings in the burgh of Kilsyth. One was the new court house and jail in Market Square the other was the Assembly Rooms in Main Street.

The 1862 article notes the architect for the court house and jail was William Simpson of Stirling. The previous court house was noted as being in poor condition and requiring replacement. The new court house was funded by the Commissioners of Supply and Sir A Edmonstone of Duntreath. The ground floor of the new building was offices and accommodation for constables including some holding cells and the courtroom was upstairs.

The first floor courtroom was accessed from the rear forestair until around 1903 when the police station additions provided an internal stair linking the two floors. The exterior door to the former courtroom and remnants of iron light fittings survive.

The Kilsyth Chronicle of 9 October 1903 noted that Stirling County Council sanctioned the expenditure of £1000 on Kilsyth Police Station . It is likely that the brick extensions to the rear of the building that house the cells are the result of these works. Aerial photographs from August 1930 show the brick additions to the rear. The former cell block is shown larger than its current, truncated form. In the photograph it reaches back to a tall rear wall enclosing the yard.

The Buildings of Scotland: Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire states that Nos 6 and 7 may be of an earlier date and may have been altered and refaced in 1862 to make a unified façade to form the north side of Market Square. The curved stone stair outshot to the rear is a detail that usually dates to around 1800-1830 and would supports this assumption. An outshot to the rear of this part of the building is also shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map.

The buildings were in use until 1974 when a new courtroom and police station were built on Parkfoot Street. Since that time the buildings have been in mixed, office and residential uses.

The development of the court house as a building type in Scotland follows the history of the Scottish legal system and wider government reforms. The majority of purpose-built court houses were constructed in the 19th century. By this time there was an increase in the separation of civic, administrative and penal functions into separate civic and institutional buildings, and the resultant surge of public building was promoted by new institutional bodies. The introduction of the Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland) Act of 1860 gave a major impetus to the increase and improvement of court accommodation and this provision of central funding was followed by the most active period of sheriff court house construction in the history of the Scottish legal system. Many new court houses were built or reworked after this date, such as at Kilsyth.

Court houses constructed after 1860 generally had a solely legal purpose and did not incorporate a prison, other than temporary holding cells. The courts were designed in a variety of architectural styles, many relying heavily on Scots Baronial features to reference the fortified Scottish building tradition.

The former Kilsyth Court was amongst the first wave of court houses to be built following the 1860 Act and is a well-detailed 19th century civic building (see Architectural or Historic Interest section below). The later additions to increase the police station accommodation are in line with additions and changes to other courthouses around the turn of the 20th century.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The majority of these buildings are used as office or retail spaces. The interiors have been altered but retain elements that indicate both the former functions of this building.

There is some interest in the detailing of the ground floor office space of Nos 8 and 9 which retain some earlier details such as timber panelling, fire surrounds and half glazed vestibule doors. The main courtroom on the upper floor has some later half-height partitions but the main room space and its coved ceiling still survive. The early 20th century rear ground floor additions have some interest in the remaining corridor and two police cells which retain tiled walls and cell doors.

Plan form

The plan form of the building is typical for a building of this type and age. The court house has been altered by the police station and holding cells additions to the rear. These changes to increase the police station accommodation are in line with additions and changes at other courthouses around the turn of the 20th century, such as Stirling and Forfar Court Houses

The pend and 1862 forestair survive to the rear elevation (now enclosed in the later brick addition). This rear stair arrangement was the main access to the courtroom and it is unusual to be in this location, outside of the building plan.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

As prime civic buildings, courts usually had a significant amount of decorative work on the exterior. The former Kilsyth Sheriff Court has a proportionate amount of stonework detailing for a small burgh court house. The principal elevation is in the Tudor style and it is largely unaltered from the time it was built. This detailing includes gabletted wallhead dormer windows and shaped hoodmoulds over the doors. The features of this style were reminiscent of those used in traditional fortified buildings and are therefore appropriate for the use in a building connected with law and justice.

Little is known of the early work of the architect William Simpson (c1810-1890). The Dictionary of Scottish Architects notes that he practiced from 11 King Street, Stirling earlier than 1865, although there is no record of any of his specific projects prior to 1870.


The setting of the former court house adds significantly to its interest. The buildings form the majority of the north side of Market Square. Market Square is the historic town square and would have been the principal place for public meetings in the 19th century. It was the site of the main market with the adjacent Market Street (now pedestrianised) providing a route to common lands.

Market Square and Market Street are the historic core of the burgh town of Kilsyth.

In layout Market Square remains largely as shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1859, published 1865). It is surrounded by a range of two storey and two-storey and attic residential and commercial properties from both the 19th and 20th century. The priority position of the former court house on Market Square indicates that it was an important civic building in the town.

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2017).



Canmore: CANMORE ID 264145 and 264146.


Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1859, published 1865). Stirlingshire, Sheet XXVIII (includes: Campsie; Fintry; Kilsyth; Kirkintilloch). 6 inch to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1896, published 1898) Stirlingshire 028.12 (includes: Cumbernauld; Kilsyth; Kirkintilloch). 6 inch to the mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Close. R, Gifford. J, and Walker F. A. (2016) The Buildings of Scotland: Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. New Haven: Yale University Press. p359.

The Stirling Observer (14 August 1862) Kilsyth. p.6.

The Kilsyth Chronicle (9 October 1903) Local News.p.2

Online Sources

Britain from Above. Kilsyth at [accessed 15/05/2017].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects. William Simpson at [accessed 15/05/2017].

Historic Scotland (2014) Scottish Courts Preliminary Report at [accessed 12/06/2017].

North Lanarkshire Council (2009) Kilsyth Conservation Area Appraisal at [accessed 22/06/2017].

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


6, 7, 8 and 9 Market Square principal elevation, looking north during daytime on an overcast day.
9 Market Square, detail of entrance.

Printed: 23/05/2019 22:00