Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

22B, 22C AND 22D ESPLANADE AND 90 ELDON STREET, FIRTH HOUSE, WITH BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERSLB50050

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
C
Date Added
19/01/2005
Local Authority
Inverclyde
Planning Authority
Inverclyde
Burgh
Greenock
NGR
NS 26718 77601
Coordinates
226718, 677601

Description

1847. 2- and 3-storey, 4-bay, irregular-plan, Tudor gothic marine villa with deep eaves and stepped frontage composed of gabled blocks and 3-storey square-plan tower; principal entrance to side. Tooled sandstone ashlar to principal elevation; squared, coursed sandstone to sides and rear. Base course; eaves course and crenellated parapet to tower. Raised quoin strips; some transomed and mullioned windows; hoodmoulds to principal windows; raised margins to other windows.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: stepped elevation. 3-storey tower to centre: chamfered corner to 2nd floor; 2-leaf timber panelled front door with fanlight in raised architrave at ground; 4-light window at 2nd floor. 2-storey gable adjoining to right with bipartite windows to both floors. 3-storey and attic gable recessed to left of tower with canted window at ground, bipartite window at 2nd floor and small arched window to attic. 2-storey wing recessed to outer left with bipartite window at ground and gabled dormer at 1st floor.

SW (REAR) AND SE ELEVATIONS: 3-storey gabled block orientated NE-SW with tripartite window at 2nd floor of SW gable; irregular fenestration to SE elevation with 2-storey gable advanced to right; timber panelled front door in stop-chamfered architrave to crenellated porch in left re-entrant angle. 2-storey L-plan wing recessed to left of 3-storey block; single storey piend-roofed service wing filling angle. Predominantly non-traditional uPVC windows; some surviving plate glass in timber sash and case windows (see Notes). Some octagonal sandstone chimney stacks with short clay cans. Graded grey slate.

INTERIOR: divided into 3 flats. Half-glazed timber panelled lobby door with stained glass in stop-chamfered ashlar architrave (painted) with rosettes carved into upper corners. Curved stone staircase with cast-iron balusters. Decoratively carved timber chimneypiece in 1st floor drawing room. Some decorative plasterwork.

BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: ashlar-coped, squared sandstone boundary wall to NE, SE and SW. Octagonal gatepiers with pyramidal caps to entrance from Eldon Street (SW).

Statement of Special Interest

This house is currently (2004) divided into 3 properties, numbers 22b (1st floor), 22c (ground floor) and 22d (top floor), Esplanade. Although the principal elevation looks over the Esplanade, the main entrance was originally from Eldon Street, and it therefore also carries the number 90 Eldon Street, although this no longer appears to be in current use. Firth House occupies a prominent position on The Esplanade, and is of considerable importance to the streetscape, as the neighbouring houses are much plainer. The house was built as a 'Marine Villa', and was designed so that the principal rooms take the best advantage of the excellent views of the Clyde and hills beyond. The style of architecture, with its numerous gables, deep eaves and crenellated tower is not uncommon for this type of sea-side villa, but Firth House does seem to be a particularly early example. Craig Ailey, a very influential Marine Villa by Alexander Thomson, is designed along roughly the same lines (multi-gabled with tower), but is 3 years later. It is unfortunate that the architect of Firth House is unknown.

Firth House was evidently designed to have plate glass windows, and this is also of significance. Although the technology for producing plate glass had been available since the 17th century, very high taxes on glass made it uneconomical to produce until 1845 when the tax was removed. To build a house with plate glass windows in 1847 would have been both very expensive and in the fore-front of fashion. It is extremely unfortunate that most of these early plate glass windows have been replaced with uPVC glazing, and the few surviving original sash windows are a very important part of the historic fabric of this house.

References

Bibliography

Appears on 1st Edition OS Map (1863). Information from Mr Gierach (owner).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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 www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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