J W Hay, 1855; extended and partially remodelled circa 1871; large extension added 1936-37 by James Miller; partially refurbished, Hugh Anderson Design of Glasgow, 2000. Original 2-storey and attic asymmetrical villa to W; slightly taller 2-storey and attic asymmetrical addition to SE; 2-storey 18-bay earlier 20th century office block addition (rectangular-plan with lower-height 4-bay rear wing to N) furthest E. Villa sections of Baronial design with crowstepped gables throughout (including to dormers), larger ones ball-finialled; larger windows mullioned; turrets at attic level/1st floor (mostly with pyramid roofs); open-sided porch supported on granite columns with foliate capitals to W elevation/original villa. Office section flat-roofed with regular bays; windows slightly recessed within vertical bands/divided horizontally by herringbone brickwork (S and E elevations); full-height 3-bay entrance with fluted abstracted pilasters to S elevation. Villa coursed stugged sandstone with sandstone ashlar dressings; office extension brick with ashlar dressings. Base course and eaves course to villa sections; eaves course to S elevation of later 19th century addition moulded into several bands/partially bracketed as base of parapet; string course above ground floor to principal elevations of later 19th century addition/remodelled sections. Base course up to cill level to S and E elevations of office extension. Chamfered/chamfered and stopped reveals to most windows to W elevation/original villa.
W (VILLA ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: main 2-storey and attic; 4-bay; original block projects to centre. Slightly projecting 2-bay section to left (both bays gabled). Entrance with rectangular-plan open-sided porch (later 19th century) to that to right; 3-segmental-headed arches with cable-moulded reveals to each side, supported on 4 polished granite columns with foliate heads; raised panel (carved with coat of arms) at centre of parapet above larger front arch; architraved entrance set back; replacement boarded timber doors and rectangular fanlight. 2-sided canted bipartite with thistle finial above. 1st floor window to right of left bay; mullioned 5-light window to bartizan at 1st floor to outer left. Window to each floor to 2 bays slightly set back to right. Gabled bay set back to outer left (ground floor 1855, upper floors added later 19th century). Mullioned tripartite at ground; blank panel centred above. 2 windows to 1st floor. Small attic window with projecting masonry around it creating hood-mould effect. Slightly projecting 2-storey tower with crenellated bracketed parapet at outer left; narrow window to 1st floor. Semi-gabled bay with raised pediment at apex set back to outer right to later 19th century addition. Window to right of ground and 1st floors. Slightly projecting 3-storey tower to outer right; bracketed frieze and tall pyramid roof with fishscale tiles, swept at eaves and surmounted by wrought-iron finial; narrow attic window to projecting upper storey.
S (OFFICE ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: villa section to left. 3-bay later 19th century addition to right; wide projecting bay to left; slightly projecting gabled section to centre; 5-light mullioned canted window with panelled parapet at ground; recessed mullioned bipartite above; attic window surmounted by strapwork panel to gable; flanking slightly projecting 3-storey towers at angles; each with bracketed frieze and tall pyramid roof with fishscale tiles, swept at eaves and surmounted by wrought-iron finial; narrow attic window to projecting upper storey. Narrow attic window (to tower) to right return. Window to each floor to 2-bay section set back to right; those to ground floor mullioned bipartites; those to attic gabled breaking-eaves dormers. Window to each floor to outer right return of villa section. Single gabled bay of original main block set back to outer left; full-height projecting section to centre with mullioned tripartite at ground; canted mullioned 5-light window to 1st floor and small mullioned bipartite to gable. 1930's office extension set back to far right. Window to each floor to each bay apart from 3-bay entrance to right of centre and 5th bay from left and 4th bay from right, both with entrances with deep architraves (and block pediments) at ground (window above); original 2-leaf panelled timber doors (panels with incised lines creating linenfold effect); original glazed inner doors intact. Flanking projecting brick pilaster strips to entrance project above roof; surmounted by block pediment above frieze; bays divided by full-height fluted pilasters with abstracted capitals; incised vertical lines to panels to horizontal divisions between windows; moulded acroteria along apex; shield with coat of arms at centre; window to each floor to each bay apart from central bay at ground; moulded copper architrave with frieze surmounted by acroteria; original decorated copper grille outer doors and glazed inner doors. Flanking statues of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce on pedestals (detached from building and formerly situated at main villa entrance to W elevation).
N ELEVATION: villa section to outer right. 4-bay projecting section at centre (ground floor 1855, upper floors added later 19th century). Slightly projecting 2-storey tower with crenellated bracketed parapet at outer right arris; blocked entrance, dated '1855' at ground; narrow window to 1st floor. Gabled bay set back (bracketed parapet at apex); window to each floor; that to gable (attic) surmounted by strapwork panel/pediment. Window to each floor to 2-bay section set back slightly to left. Gabled bay with attic window to left return; mullioned bipartite to each floor to bay to parapetted section to left (right light of that at ground entrance); canted bay with window to each floor adjoining to left; window to each floor to adjoining bay (breaking-eaves gabled dormer to attic). Gabled section set back to left; 2 large windows at ground; 3 narrow windows to 1st floor; attic window to gable. Gabled projecting section set back to original main back to far right; mullioned bipartite at ground and 1st floor. 1930's office section projects to left. Harled bay to outer right; 2 7-bay sections to left divided by rectangular-plan wing projecting to centre.
E ELEVATION: 3-bay end elevation of 1930's office extension. Central entrance with deep architrave with block pediment; original 2-leaf panelled timber door and glazed inner doors. Window above; window to each floor to flanking bays.
Mainly 2-pane timber sash and case windows to villa sections. 15 and 20-pane metal-framed windows with top hoppers to 1930's office extension. Grey slate roofs to villa sections (flat roof of office addition not visible). Prominent projecting wallhead stack with 2 tall coped individual flues (one circular-plan, one octagonal) and tall coped gablehead stack to W elevation (original villa main block); 3 coped gablehead stacks to E side of villa section (later 19th century); additional coped stacks at junctions between villa sections; round cans where in existence.
INTERIOR: some impressive and ornate internal detailing (largely of later 19th century date) to villa sections. Elaborate cornicing and plasterwork decoration to large room with bay window to S (Members' Lounge, 2001); attached columns behind window mullions, each surmounted by plasterwork foliate capital with plasterwork panels above; ornate ceiling rosettes and horses and foliage to ceiling; decorative plasterwork to walls; elaborate marble fireplace surround incorporating fruit and flowers. Decorative cornicing to hall to main entrance vestibule and hallway; geometric-patterned tiles to floor of vestibule. Imposing open-well staircase with
decorative cast-iron balustrade (twisted balusters) with highly decorated coved ceiling above with pitched rooflight at apex; plaster panels incorporating geometric floral motifs to ceiling; pendant bosses at base of rooflight; roundels containing plaster heads in high relief above. Villa sections largely modernised elsewhere. Earlier 20th century office section partially/sympathetically refurbished 2000. Entrance vestibule with panelled walls and glazed inner doors with brass handles set into glazed screen. Hallway/reception area with composite panelling to walls and pair of flanking octagonal vitrolite columns; large flat multi-pane rooflight; original pendant light fitting retained. Council chamber entirely refurbished 2000; rooflight retained; new timber panelling to walls; built-in timber serving area with flanking glass doors set into glazed panels.
Original timber panelling with walnut veneer frieze and dado to Bruce and Wallace Rooms (meeting rooms); plain composite fireplace surrounds. Original staircase at E end.
ENTRANCE GATEWAYS AND BOUNDARY WALL TO W: coped rubble/coursed rubble boundary wall with segmentally-recessed sections at entrances to N and S. Both with flanking rectangular-plan sandstone ashlar gatepiers; those to N with frieze, cornice and squared coping; those to S (entrance enlarged) with frieze, cornice and raised coping surmounted by spiked ball finial.
Statement of Special Interest
A finely detailed Victorian Baronial villa, largely dating from the later 19th century in its present form with a geometrical addition incorporating abstract classical detailing in its entrance. Some fine internal features to both blocks; including some highly intricate plasterwork to the villa and good refurbishment fittings of 2000 to the office addition, with sensitive retention of 1930's features in the hallway and flanking meeting rooms. Peter Drummond, an agricultural merchant (and member of a prominent family of agricultural merchants) bought an earlier villa on the site (also called 'Viewforth) in 1853. He subsequently demolished it and engaged John Hay of Liverpool to build a replacement (the core of the present villa). John Hay co-founded the Stirling Agricultural Museum, which did much to publicise better farming methods, and set up the Stirling Tract Enterprise, which printed and distributed religious tracts. When he retired to Edinburgh in 1871 the house was sold to James Paton, a woollen manufacturer who built the addition/remodelled it. In plan the original block covered a similar area before and after it was extended. However the SE corner was extended further S during the remodelling and what had been a separate attached single storey building to the N had an additional storey and a half built on to it. Both the 1st and 2nd Edition OS maps show an enclosed courtyard to the E of the villa. The buildings around it were probably stables and other ancillary structures. In 1907 Viewforth was bought by Sir James Brown Smith, whose family had founded the firm of Smith and Wellstood, Bonnybridge. He died in 1913. For a short while the villa was let out privately. Then, during World War I, it was made available to the Ministry of National Service. Subsequently, in 1920 it was leased by H M Office of Works and has remained in use as an office block (with the addition of the large rear wing in the 1930's) ever since. Formerly known as Stirling County Buildings.