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- Category: B
- Date Added: 14/11/2006
- Local Authority: Scottish Borders
- Planning Authority: Scottish Borders
- Burgh: Galashiels
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 49116 36054
- Coordinates: 349116, 636054
R Thornton Shiells and Thomson, 1879-80. Church hall by Lorimer and Matthew, circa 1939. Rectangular-plan, Middle Pointed Gothic church with prominent tower and octagonal spire to E corner and integral hall to S corner of plan. 3 bays to centre (N elevation) with quatrefoil rose window in hoodmoulded pointed arch over equilateral arched main doorway with further pitched and carved hoodmould above flanked by pointed lancet windows and smaller doors to outer bays. 2-light quatrefoil plate tracery and lower pointed tripartite lancet windows to sides; rose window to S gable. Square-plan 4-stage tower with attached single storey piended bell ringers chamber; shouldered buttresses; slender pointed arcades to louvres and windows at 3rd and 4th stages; squared and gablet pointed pinnacles to base of octagonal stone spire. Small hall to SE with later linking section to 1939 halls. Course rubble whinstone; blonde sandstone quoins and margins. Moulded string courses.
Tinted glass windows; timber boarded doors with decorative cast-iron brackets; pitched slate roof with triangular ventilators; terracotta ridge tiles; stone skews; cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: fine original decorative scheme and symmetrical plan-form in place. Curved timber gallery on cast-iron columns; barrel-vaulted timber Jacobean panelled roof with hammer beams on carved stone corbels to sides; curved yellow pine pews. Equilateral arch to chancel with ornate stone columns with floral capitals and organ gallery. Small narthex with decorative timber entrance lobby, war memorials and symmetrical curved stone stairs with barley-twist cast-iron balusters to main gallery. Rear corridor leading to hall, meeting rooms and vestry with timber fire surrounds; stairs to organ gallery and link to later hall.
HALL: 5-bay rectangular-plan steeply pitched roofed hall with lower ancillary rooms linking to church at NE corner. Rendered. Horizontal timber multi-pane windows; slate roofs; rendered gable stacks. Hall interior: timber floors, boarded to dado height, glazed timber three panel doors.
BOUNDARY WALLS: low rubble walls with angled copes and truncated gatepillars to NE. Taller rubble walls with rounded copes to SE, SW and NE.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. St Aidans Church is a good example of an unaltered later 19th century gothic church with a finely detailed interior and fine stone detailing particularly evident in the tower and spire which stand as a prominent landmark over the centre of the town.
The church was built by the Edinburgh firm of Thornton Shiells and Thomson, a large domestic practice, as the South United Presbyterian Church at a cost of £5000. The designs were exhibited twice at the Royal Academy (1880 and 1885). St Aidans is thought to have been designed by Robert Thornton Shiells (1833-1902), primarily a church architect, who trained under David Bryce. Shiells is known to have designed a good number of churches for the United Presbyterian Church, of which St. Aidans is seen as a fine example.
The church was consecrated in August 1880 and has remained in ecclesiastical use since then. It was renamed St Aidan's in 1981.
The later halls were requisitioned by the military for use as a canteen during the war.
Grooms Gazetteer 1883 (p66). R Hall, The History of Galashiels (1898) (p266). Gala through the years. 2nd edition ORDNANCE SURVEY map (1897). K Cruft, Buildings of Scotland, Borders (2006) p298. http://www.codexgeo.co.uk/dsa/ (Dictionary of Scottish Architects).
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