This handsome Category B Listed building was originally designed and constructed for the National Bank of Scotland between 1862-3. It was designed by David MacGibbon, who was the Bank’s principal architect at the time and he designed a number of buildings for the bank in the Scots Baronial Style.
The building now requires extensive roof and masonry repairs. Works are underway to repair and renew slating and leadwork, repair and re-build masonry chimneys, renew areas of rotten timber and repair/replace rainwater goods.
As with many properties throughout Falkirk, urgent repairs are required to the rhone (gutters) and downpipes. Blockages in the pipes and gutters have caused water to overflow down the face of the building, which causes damp internally and damages the stonework. Vegetation has been growing from the building, which further traps debris and means that water cannot properly drain away.
The current construction works will ensure that the water management system of the building is fully operational and in good order.
Once the scaffold was in place, it was discovered that the skew putts (see definition below) on each dormer window had been secured in the past with an iron pin. This ferrous material (something that contains rust) has been expanding over time and causing the stone to fracture, meaning that the rusted pins must be removed and replaced with a stainless steel pin (which will not rust). The fractured stones will then be repaired or replaced.
Older buildings often contain ferrous materials as it was not recognised at that time that they could cause significant damage in the future. Rusting of metal can cause entire sections of building to lift; iron can expand up to 25 times its original volume and can shatter stone.
Removal of these iron fixings at 25 – 29 Upper Newmarket Street will help this building to survive into the future and reduce the risk of what could have been a hazardous situation.
Definition of skew putt : a stone at the foot of the slope of a masonry gable cut with a sloping surface and with a check to hold the coping stones.