Reconstruction to Temperance Cafe

Crown Hotel, Falkirk High Street / Lint Riggs

Dr John Aitken left a beneficence of £20,000 for the acquisition of a building in Falkirk town centre which could be used as a Temperance centre.  After some delay the Crown Hotel was purchased for £8,500 and J G Callendar was given the task of reconstructing it for its new purpose.  The centre was intended to be used as a hotel, meeting place, reading room and clubhouse – free from the influences of the demon drink.

Entering the reconstructed premises from Lint Riggs a lounge was reached, around which were placed the luncheon and tea-room, server, manager’s office, ladies’ lounge, and smoke room.  The tea-room had accommodation for nearly a hundred people and also had a direct entrance from the High Street.  It was tastefully designed and the upper part of the walls were divided at intervals with pilasters with ornamental drop capitals, while the spaces between were panelled with an ornamental beaded plaster band filled in with a rich tapestry paper.  The lower part of the walls was panelled in wood, relieved at intervals with projecting ornate pilasters.  Electric crystal fittings and high-class furnishings provided a high standard.  The smoke room, which accommodated about 40 individuals, was also beautifully furnished.  A quick lunch service department was entered from the Lint Riggs.

A well-appointed staircase led to the first and second floors.  The first floor comprised a large lecture or dancing hall with subsidiary rooms and a well-equipped recreation room.  The second floor was given over to four visitors’ bedrooms and bathroom, together with the necessary staff bedrooms.  The basement floor, access to which was from Newmarket Street, had a billiard room with three playing billiard tables.  Off this there were six separately enclosed slipper baths whose walls were tiled.  Also on this floor were the kitchen and cold and grocery stores.  An electric service lift provided convenient access from this to the upper floors.

Ample lavatory accommodation was provided throughout the building and the whole of the principal apartments were heated on the low pressure hot water system then coming into common usage.  The complex officially opened in March 1923.

Contractors – mason work – J Maxwell & Sons; joiner work – Kellock & Kilgour; plaster work – James K Millar; plumber work – George Robertson; tile work – J Youden & Sons Ltd, Glasgow; glazier work – Ure and Paterson; lath work – James Buchan, Stirling; steel work – Fleming Brothers, Glasgow; electrical work – David Crosland; painter work – James Marshall; heating work – C F Howden, Glasgow; furnishings – Graham & Morton; cooking apparatus – Falkirk Iron Co Ltd.

High Street, 18 (Crown Hotel/Temperance Cafe)                     SMR 993         NS 8864 8001

G.B. Bailey, 2021