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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 87124 56118
387124, 656118


G Reid & J Smith Forbes, 1937-1938, with later additions and alterations. Single and 2-storey with basement, Art Deco, irregular-plan school comprising near Z-plan main block with square-plan entrance tower to front; further service range at rear. Painted harl; sandstone ashlar dressings. Prominent base course; channelled cill courses in part; channelled blocking courses; sandstone coping. Moulded, stylised quoins to tower; carved sandstone aprons (some channelled, some with stylised South American motifs); projecting cills throughout. Single storey, flat-roofed playsheds to E and W.

SE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 5-stage entrance tower off-set to left of centre with steps accessing deep-set, 2-leaf, herringbone-panelled door centred at ground; stylised doorpiece with engaged columns flanking opening, polygonal finials surmounting channelled cornice; tall, rectangular opening aligned above with decorative glazing in deep-set niche, channelled apron, projecting tiered and finialled canopy; 3 small corniced openings, rising from left to right above; channelled blocking course. Symmetrical 2-storey, 5-bay wing adjoined to right with large screen windows at both floors at centre and in flanking bays (continuous cill course at 1st floor); small windows at both floors in bay to outer left and at 1st floor to outer right (stylised aprons to upper openings); glazed door at ground in bay to outer right. Glazed door in single storey wing with bowed end adjoined to outer right. Single storey wing with bowed end recessed to left of tower with narrow window at ground to right; single windows in 2 bays to left; basement openings below; single windows in bowed end to outer left; continuous channelled blocking course. Symmetrical 2-storey, 9-bay teaching wing recessed to left comprising regularly-spaced screen windows at both floors in 3 central bays (single windows flanking ground floor opening centred at ground; continuous cill course at 1st floor); single windows at both floors in penultimate bays to outer left and right (stylised aprons to upper openings); steps to 2-leaf, deep-set timber panelled doors at ground in bays to outer left and right with stylised and single-finialled door-surrounds. Single windows centred in single storey blocks adjoined to outer left and right (linking assembly hall).

SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: single storey, 4-bay assembly hall at centre with regularly spaced windows in all bays; channelled aprons; carved roundels set between (each with different symbolic motif). 2-storey wing projecting to left; single storey addition to front; single storey service block recessed to outer left. Single storey, 3-bay bowed projection to outer right; linking bay recessed to left. Corniced opening centred in square-plan tower off-set to right behind.

NW (REAR) ELEVATION: regularly fenestrated 2-storey, 5-bay teaching block to right (2-part upper windows divided by sandstone lintels); single storey flanking bays. Later single storey dining hall and kitchen range at centre. 2-storey, 5-bay wing recessed to left with central projection; large screen window at 1st floor to right; large screen windows at both floors to left.

NE (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-storey wing to outer left with single storey, bowed projection to left (channelled blocking course); single storey addition to right. 2-storey block recessed to right with corniced entrance at ground. Regularly fenestrated 2-storey, 4-bay assembly hall recessed to right; 5-bay projection at ground. Later dining hall and kitchen projecting to outer right.

Predominantly double-glazed, lying-pane windows to original glazing pattern in principal classrooms; original steel-framed windows to remaining openings. Flat roofs (reinforced concrete and asphalt?). Channelled sandstone corner stack surmounting tower; coped and whitewashed stack on lower block behind. Original decorative rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: vestibule with patterned, granolithic flooring and dado panelling; 2-leaf, part-glazed door. Main corridor with part granolithic, part painted dado panelling; small timber stair accessing office; circular window with crossbars to janitor's office. Predominantly part opaque-glazed timber doors to classrooms. Architraved surround to large, square-headed stage opening in assembly hall. Main stairs comprising solid balustrades with consoled ends and decorative, consoled iron handrails. Further stair with geometric-patterned iron uprights and consoled ends.

W PLAYSHED, E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: painted harl. Near full-width, square-headed opening with rectangular-section piers supporting projecting canopy. SW AND NE SHEDS: painted harl. Lower, flat-roofed sheds flanking school with full-width, square-headed openings divided by central columns.

BOUNDARY WALLS, QUADRANT WALLS, GATEPIERS AND GATES: coped, part harled walls partially enclosing site. Stepped ashlar quadrant walls flanking central entrance with steps to rectangular-plan, round-ended, coped ashlar gatepiers; 2-leaf decorative wrought and cut sheet steel gates.

Statement of Special Interest

An outstanding example of the work of the Edinburgh-based practice, Reid & Forbes, who by this time had already designed Inverness Academy, the addition to Dalkeith High, Niddrie Marischal School and the former Leith Academy. In 1936, a year before starting at Chirnside, the practice completed the nearby Kelso Academy. With its square-plan tower, flat roofs, bowed projections and unusual carved motifs (said to derive from Frank Lloyd Wright's re-interpretation of American Indianism and in particular, his work at Midway Gardens), the similarities between the 2 are obvious - McKean regarding Kelso as the prototype for Chirnside. Prominently sited on the main road beneath Chirnside village, the school remains one of the most significant landmarks in the area and furthermore, one of the most complete examples of its type. Repainted 1998.



C McKean THE SCOTTISH THIRTIES (1987) pp124-125, p197. C A Strang BORDERS AND BERWICK: AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991) p38. M Glendinning, R MacInnes, A MacKechnie A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996) p400 and p591. Borders Regional Council, Architects' Department plans (no elevations).

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.

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Printed: 06/06/2020 08:55