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.