In the early 1930s Falkirk Council was making strenuous efforts to widen and improve the roads in and around the town centre, as part of this Princes Street was cut through the properties from the east end of Newmarket Street to Callendar Riggs. This meant the demolition in 1932 of the long-established public house known as the Argyll Bar, tenanted by Benjamin Kirk, spirit merchant.
Illus: The Argyll Bar shortly after construction.
The Argyll Bar belonged to James Aitken and Co Ltd and it was agreed with Falkirk Council that it would be rebuilt on the corner of Vicar Street and Princes Street. This was seen as a prime location and the brewing firm commissioned J G Callander to design an artistic building which would become an iconic feature of the town. The result was a building which reflects the traditional styles of the co-operative stores being built that year yet is distinctive due to the shape of the window heads. It is often described as “jazzy Art Deco.” The plans were approved by the Dean of Guild Court in April 1931 and consisted of a large bar and lavatory accommodation on the ground floor; the second floor had a smoke room, sitting room and dining room with lavatory accommodation – all forming part of a restaurant serving meals. The third floor in the roof space included a kitchen and a private room for the proprietor.
The building has been refurbished several times in recent years and its name changed, but the facades are essentially the same.
Illus : The Corner Pediment.
It has the canted corner typical of the period, capped with a decorative Art Deco panel and flagpole. The horizontal lines are emphasised by a prominent string course with dentilled lower margin, continuous plain sill course for the windows and a dentilled eaves course studded with rosettes set in square panels under a low flat parapet wall – all of blonde ashlar sandstone. The windows are large with shouldered upper corners and moulded margins, also reflected in the door heads.
Argyll Bar SMR 1691 NS 8882 8005