1 Page 83 of ARCHAEOLOGICAL DESK ASSESSMENT 6.1 Policy across the UK recognises that archaeological remains are irreplaceable; they can contain irreplaceable information about our past and the potential for an increase in future knowledge. They are part of our sense of national identity and are valuable both for their own sake and for their role in education, leisure and tourism. NPPG 5 notes that archaeological remains should be seen as a finite, and non-renewable resource, in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction, and recommends that appropriate management is therefore essential. 6.2 As part of the development of this the West of Scotland Archaeology Service (WoSAS) undertook a desk-assessment addressing the archaeological sensitivity of the town centre and the Conservation Area in particular. This was based on published sources and details of previous excavations (Appendix Four). There is inevitably some overlap with the historical assessment undertaken by Austin-Smith: Lord, however as there is particular emphasis on the archaeological associations these are included here for ease of reference. 6.3 Although it is possible to some extent to trace the history of Kilmarnock through documentary and cartographic sources, there are a number of issues relating to the development of the town that cannot be resolved through desk-based research alone. This may be because no written material survives from the early stages of the town s development, or because details of everyday details of life in the town were such common knowledge that it was not felt necessary to document them. In instances such as this, archaeology offers the only opportunity to explore and understand the forces and processes that have formed the townscape that exists today. However, archaeological material, whether present as upstanding and visible remains or in the form of buried sub-surface deposits, represent a finite and non-renewable resource, and one that is particularly susceptible to damage or destruction occasioned by construction activities. As such, it is important that the impact of any development proposals on the archaeological resource of the town be considered at as early a stage as possible. Archaeological Desk and Building Assessment 6.4 Physical evidence for the origins and development of an early medieval nucleus at Kilmarnock are almost entirely absent. There are no obvious stimuli to settlement at this location, though the position of the town at a fordable point across the Kilmarnock Water on the road between Glasgow and Ayr may have provided a suitable focus. Historical sources suggest that early settlement grew up around the site of the ancient chapel dedicated to St. Marnock, and certainly the place-name has strong ecclesiastical overtones, being derived from the Gaelic Cill Mhearnaig, or St Mo-Ernoc's Church. This suggests that Kilmarnock developed initially as a kirktoun, a small rural township centred on a church, and that in its earliest incarnation most probably consisted of settlement near a crossing of the Kilmarnock Water, close to the present site of the Cross. 6.5 Although the saint associated with the foundation of Kilmarnock has generally been ascribed to the late 6 th or early 7 th century, no physical material relating to this period has been identified from within the town. While the presence of a church at an early date would be a good indicator of settlement, there is no reliable account of an ecclesiastical building in Kilmarnock before the 12 th century, and no physical evidence of a church founded by St. Marnoc in the 4 th or 6 th century has been identified to date.
2 Page 84 of 135 There is, therefore, no documentary or artifactual evidence that demonstrates conclusively habitation of the centre of the town before the 12 th century, though there are a number of possible explanations for the apparent absence of material dating to the initial phase in its development, the most obvious being that physical evidence for the early stages of settlement in Kilmarnock is likely to have been masked by the extensive later development that has taken place across much of the area. This cannot be taken as indicating that all such material has been removed, however, as only a limited amount of archaeological work has taken place in the historic core of Kilmarnock. As a result, it remains possible that that deposits relating to this period may survive in situ, but have yet to be identified during archaeological fieldwork. 6.6 Kilmarnock appears to have developed initially on an ad hoc basis, spreading out from an embryonic core in the vicinity of the Cross. As a result of the seemingly random nature of this initial development, the medieval settlement of Kilmarnock had no planned street pattern. Narrow lanes and passages developed focused on the Laigh Kirk and Cross, the convergent streetplan at the historical core of the town indicating that this area was already built up by the time the burgh charter was granted in The Laigh Kirk and Cross remain at the centre of modern Kilmarnock, with the church in particular forming a valuable element of the John Finnie Street and Bank Street conservation area. 6.7 The present Laigh Kirk is assumed to occupy the site of the medieval church, largely due to its position close to the focal point of the convergent street plan of the town. The curvilinear shape of its churchyard is often taken as indicating an early date for the first occupation of the site, as this layout is commonly associated with early Christian foundations. While the irregular shape of the enclosure certainly appears to be indicative of an early foundation, both archaeological and documentary evidence suggests that its current form may represent a contraction from its original boundaries. The Kilmarnock Burgh Survey, for example, states that the churchyard was demonstrably more extensive 200 years ago, and cites as evidence the discovery of human bones in 1860 by workmen forming a drain in a lane adjoining the church, and further remains found in course of the rebuilding of a house in Bank Street, to suggest that the graveyard at one time extended to the edge of the river, and also across ground now occupied by Low Church Lane. While some burial outside the consecrated ground of the churchyard would not be unexpected during the medieval period, the number of inhumations suggested in sources such as Adamson ( Rambles Round Kilmarnock With An Introductory Sketch Of The Town, 1875) suggest that these individuals were originally interred within its boundaries, and consequently that the present enclosure cannot be definitively said to map that associated with any supposed 6 th century foundation on the site. Additionally, it also indicates that the area where evidence for this early religious foundation may be expected cannot be restricted to the present churchyard only, as physical deposits relating to it could be present from within the boundaries of a potentially more extensive burial ground. 6.8 Despite the tradition of there being an early Christian presence in the vicinity of the Laigh Kirk from the 6 th century onwards, the first mention of the lands of Kilmarnock comes from a charter dating from 1316, a reference made in connection with their being granted to Robert Boyd by Robert I, and the church and parish were referred to intermittently in subsequent years. Research by Pont suggested that the first church of Kilmarnock 'was bulte by the Locartts Lords of it ' (the barony of Kilmarnock) 'and dedicated to a holy man, Mernock, as vitnesses ye records of Kilvinin Abbay' (McKay, 1909, 1). The church certainly appears to have belonged to the religious community at Kilwinning to which were paid the tithes and other revenues pertaining to it. The earliest secure documentary reference to the Low, or Laigh Kirk, therefore suggests that it may have been erected in the 13 th century as a daughter church of Kilwinning Abbey.
3 Page 85 of The present building occupying the site was erected in 1801, though it is possible that masonry from an earlier 15 th century structure may have been incorporated in its fabric. Structural and artifactual evidence is lacking, however, and the sequence of church building at Kilmarnock is obscure. Of the hypothetical 12 th century church, little is known of either its size or structure though some information of earlier building came to light during the early 19 th century. McKay (1909,ll) for example, quotes a letter recording the demolition of the old church, which revealed on the west side of the steeple three gothic niches in the wall, 5' (1.5m) or 6' (1.8m) above the floor to the rear of the former position of the altar in pre-reformation times. Future work in the church, churchyard and surrounding streets may provide the necessary information with which to reconstruct a more complete record of the ecclesiastical history and origins of Kilmarnock. To this end, further work could usefully be conducted to attempt to confirm the site of the earliest church, and to establish the plan and date of successive churches and associated churchyards Lying to the north-east of the Laigh Kirk, the Cross is likely to have been the centre of commercial activity in the pre-burghal settlement, representing a secular balance to the spiritual focus provided by the presence of the church. The Cross was and indeed is the centre of the town, and most of Kilmarnock's early thoroughfares would have radiated out from it. Many of the streets that make up the current core of the town appear to maintain the lines of those that fed into the centre of the early settlement, though often overlaid or altered by a palimpsest of later additions. Strand, for example, appears to maintain the line of an ancient way which led from Cheapside to the Strandhead Toll. According to Smellie, it was the first street in the town to be causeyed, something that may indicate that it was an important route in the early 18 th century. Until King Street was opened in 1804, Sandbed, running parallel to the river, provided the main route from Kilmarnock in the direction of Ayr, by way of the Town s Bridge. Nelson Street seems similarly likely to maintain the line of an early thoroughfare, though its name is a more recent addition, relating to victories of the famous admiral (Smellie, 1898, xxiv). Bank Street and College Wynd can both claim some antiquity, while High Street and Soulis Street were both important public ways Given that the secular settlement of Kilmarnock appears to have developed around the dual focus provided by the associated ecclesiastical and commercial centres, excavations in the vicinity of the Laigh Kirk, Cross and the early streets named above could prove useful in attempting to recover material evidence relating to the earliest date for the initial settlement and subsequent development of a community at Kilmarnock. Moreover, investigation of the backlands of properties fronting onto these streets could prove informative in relation to any small-scale industrial practises that may have operated in these areas, while the presence of middens and cesspits may provide important information on the diet and health of the town s inhabitants As the focal point of the organic street plan of the early settlement, the Cross was central to the operation of the commercial and social life of the town. Of particular significance is the presence of an early corn mill, which was driven by a lade running from Clerk's Lane to the Cross and on to the old bridge near Cheapside (Smellie, 1898, iv). The existence of a church and mill in close proximity from the 12 th century provides a plausible nucleus around which the town could subsequently develop. The mill stood at the Cross until 1703, when a new mill was erected at a short distance from the town on the banks of the River Irvine, and by 1852, the lade had been covered over. The Cross also provided the market area of the developing town, and was the site of the market cross, which was located here until its removal in A tron, which had been in the town since 1672, was placed under cover the following year.
4 Page 86 of The tollbooth of Kilmarnock was also located close the putative central core of the medieval settlement, situated to the west of the Cross. According to McKay ( ), the 18 th century structure was a gloomy looking L-shaped erection two storeys high and with a small bellhouse and shops on the ground floor. A lane at the west end of the building provided access to a cell known as the 'Thieves Hole, with two dungeon-like apartments above. That part of the upper flat adjacent to the Cross acted as the Courthouse, and was entered by a broad outside stair faced with a parapet. This building was removed in the course of improvements at the beginning of the 19 th century, and new municipal offices were erected on an arch spanning the river. Since that date, the site has been redeveloped on at least two occasions, and it is unlikely that many subsurface deposits relating to it remain in situ, though this has not been tested archaeologically The extent of the early settlement which developed at Kilmarnock is not known. While the morphology of the modern settlement indicates that it developed around the dual focus of the Cross and Laigh Kirk, the rate at which it expanded from this core is not recorded in documentary sources, and nor is there any indication of the number of people inhabiting the town at various points in its development. Although the morphology of the town suggests an initial phase of organic development spreading out in all directions from the Cross, the position of the town on the main route between Glasgow and Ayr is likely to have acted as a contributory factor in a linear expansion away from the early nucleus along the line of this road. The first indication of the size of the settlement does not come until 1547, when the parish of Kilmarnock was mentioned in connection with the election of a priest. The parishioners who took part in that election amounted to about 300, and it is surmised therefore that the population of the parish at the time may have been little more than 1400 (McKay, 1909, 5). In the absence of documentary or cartographic sources, therefore, archaeology may offer the only means of mapping the development of the town over time, from the early kirktoun to the modern streetscape of today There are no obvious documentary references to the presence of town defences at Kilmarnock, and certainly there are no surviving upstanding structural elements. Pont, who visited the town around 1608, (Dobie, 1876, 289) made no mention of an enclosing wall or ports. However, Richard Franck reporting his travels about 50 years later, in 1658, referred to Kilmarnock 'through the midst of whose crazy tottering ports there runs a river, something that may refer to the existence of town gates. However, he further comments 'nor do I remember any wall it has, but a river there is...that runs through the town, which may be interpreted as referring to the river as a natural means of protection. The presence of a defined defensive barrier around the town could tend to act as a break on expansion beyond the medieval core, and any archaeological information relating to the presence of such a boundary at Kilmarnock would therefore be useful in forming a more complete picture of its pattern of development. Although documentary sources suggest that the early settlement did not have masonry walls, it is possible that it may have been defended in some less permanent manner, such as a ditch or thorn hedge, as was the case in Glasgow. While no longer forming a visible boundary, it is possible that these more ephemeral barriers may have left a trace in the archaeological record. Further archaeological work could therefore be undertaken to confirm the presence or absence of town defences, something that would also allow an assessment to be made of the likely extent of the early settlement By the 16th century, the town was starting to expand beyond its probable medieval core in the vicinity of the Cross. As noted previously, the postulated population in the mid 16th century may have been little more than Pont, writing about Kilmarnock in the early 17 th century, described it as being a large village 'of grate repaire' with a weekly market, a ' fair ' stone bridge and a pretty church 'from which the village took its name. This suggests that, although legally a burgh following its erection as a burgh of barony in January 1592, Kilmarnock throughout the 17 th century remained principally a rural settlement, serving the agrarian community around it.
5 Page 87 of Perhaps the first cartographic source to give an indication of the scale of the settlement at Kilmarnock is Roy s Military Survey, conducted in On this map, the town of Kilmarnock was shown to extend from the Townhead Bridge in the north to a point around the line of what is now Nelson Street in the south. The expansion of the town prior to this date included the construction of a new church at the head of Soulis Street in This church, the High Kirk, was erected as a chapel of ease for the Laigh Kirk, demonstrating that the population of Kilmarnock had by the early 18 th century outgrown what could be comfortably accommodated in the earlier structure. The High Kirk was constructed on what was at the time the periphery of the town, providing an indication of the extent of the urbanised area prior to this date. Only 25 years after its construction, however, Roy depicted the High Kirk as being enclosed to the north by linear development extending along the High Street, something which serves as an indication of the rapid expansion Kilmarnock exhibited during the 18 th century. While the John Finnie Street and Bank Street conservation area only encloses a small portion of this zone of rapid post-medieval growth, archaeological work in this section of the town would allow an opportunity to look for material evidence to date the ongoing advancement of each outward stage of this expansion. Moreover, it would offer the opportunity to determine whether this expansion was driven by commercial or industrial requirements, through the identification of deposits in the archaeological record relating to non-residential activities in this area of Kilmarnock Roy s Military Survey also depicted a large structure set within what appears to be formal grounds in the area to the south of the Laigh Kirk. In is likely that this represents Kilmarnock House, the original part of which was reputedly built c Following a fire in 1735, which destroyed Dean Castle, alterations and extensions were made to the original fabric, though these were still in progress at the start of the Jacobite uprising of 1745, and were never completed as a result of the last Earl of Kilmarnock s support for the failed Stuart cause. Following this, the property associated with the house was divided up in the course of subsequent civic improvement schemes. In the early 20 th century, the house became an industrial school, before eventually being demolished in Kilmarnock House was located towards the southern end of the John Finnie Street and Bank Street conservation area. Following the removal of the upstanding elements of the house, the site was used as a car park for a considerable period. Despite the lack of upstanding elements, therefore, it is likely that archaeological deposits will survive in the form of buried sub-surface deposits due to the relatively unintrusive nature of the recent occupation of the site. These deposits could be susceptible to damage or destruction as a result of any proposal that may be brought forward for the development of the site, something that would remove the opportunity to recover any information they may be able to provide in relation to the date of construction of the house or to the expansion of settlement into this area of the town By the 18 th century, the unplanned and organic development of Kilmarnock had created a town centre that appears to have been somewhat congested. The Cross seems to have become contracted in form as a result of infill development encroaching into the former market space, a process that is not uncommon in post-medieval burghs. A row of houses extended from the Cheapside nearly in a direct line towards Fore Street, leaving only a narrow opening near the site of the Tontine Buildings which led to Croft. A similar range of houses stood where the mouth of King Street was later formed, and the only outlet in that direction was by a road or pathway that led down to the Kilmarnock Water between those houses and the corner of Waterloo Street (McKay, 1909, 102).
6 Page 88 of The Earl of Glencairn did much to alter the town and its appearance on acquiring the lands of Kilmarnock in Improvements made at this time included the opening of Titchfield Street and Glencairn Street, these long, broad and open thoroughfares representing the imposition of a more ordered and regular layer of planned development on the organic morphology of the earlier town. The utility of the Cross as a public space was further enhanced in the 19 th century, when several of the houses surrounding it were taken down and new streets added, though this is likely to have been at the cost of the destruction of important information relating to the early development of the town By 1820 the situation had improved so greatly in the centre of town that one observer wrote that 'the mean and low houses are not intermixed with the more stately and better finished fabrics' and there were 'no recesses and projections as formerly in alternate order like the teeth of a saw (Robertson, 1820, 374). However, the Cross remains at the centre of the present town, and the basic alignment of some early thoroughfares of the medieval settlement have been largely maintained despite the substantial redevelopment to have taken place to the north, east and south of it. Many small lanes and closes have, however, been lost, and many of the property boundaries of the early town appear to have been totally obliterated as a result of the improvement schemes of the 18 th and 19 th centuries. As a result, the layout of the medieval settlement appears to survive only in College Wynd, Bank Street, Croft Street, Strand Street and Sandbed Street, all altered to a greater or lesser degree by widening and dissection by later streets Despite the substantial effects of these redevelopment schemes, the presumed core of the town retains some potential to produce potentially informative archaeological deposits. Strand Street was of considerable importance in the late 17 th century, and although 19 th -century building replacement and clearance at the southern end by the Laigh Kirk (Wood, 1819) and street widening in 1864 have altered its appearance, the alignment of the street is basically as it was at the end of the 18 th century. Croft Street is similarly a relatively ancient road but the area to the north of this street and to the east and west of Strand Street is heavily built up. However, there is apparently a considerable build up of material in some parts. The demolition of buildings at 3, 7 & 9, Cheapside for example, which probably dated from the 17 th century had a 'ground floor' lying between 7' (2.1m) and 8' (2.4m) below the present street level, and early foundations may survive, therefore, in this general area. Sandbed Street running parallel with the river, was one of the main exits to the town until The level of the street was raised in the 18 th century, so the original street level must lie some way below the surface here In addition to those streets that appear to maintain the street plan of the early settlement, a number of streets in the core of Kilmarnock were laid out during the phase of expansion occasioned by the rapid industrial development of the town, the sequence of construction being documented in the section documenting the history of the town. The comparatively recent date of the foundation of these streets cannot, however, be taken as indicating that they are of no archaeological interest. King Street and Portland Street were not formed until 1805 and 1812 respectively, and West George Street was laid out circa 1819, while John Dickie Street was established about Although none of these frontages can therefore be considered to have any antiquity, all run through the putative core of the medieval settlement, and their construction is likely to have required the removal in all or part of earlier structures Despite the widespread changes that have taken place in the centre of Kilmarnock since the 18 th century, therefore, there remains some potential for useful archaeological information to be recovered from this area. Future investigation could usefully be directed towards establishing any pre-18 th century variation in street alignment and width, and to confirming the relationship between the assumed street pattern of the medieval settlement and that existing today. Though
7 Page 89 of 135 alteration to the street plan of the town since the 18 th century will have required the removal of earlier buildings, it is possible that it may not have obliterated all trace of these structures. Deeply cut features such as wells or cesspits could survive the truncation required to form new roads, and may therefore remain in place, sealed below later material. There is some potential for features of this type to be disturbed during works within these roads, and consequently, any proposed road improvements, repairs to, and extension of, existing services such as gas, electricity and water which involve soil disturbance could usefully be monitored in the hope that it may produce information relating to the lives of the ordinary citizens of the town Archaeology may also be able to provide information on the physical attributes of the houses that made up the town. Richard Franck, in an account published in 1658, described the houses of Kilmarnock as little better than huts and generally of a size, all built so low that their eaves hang dangling to touch the earth...and that which is worse than all the rest, is their unproportionate ill contrivance...not one good structure is to be found in Kilmarnock...' (McKay, 1909, 7). However, few if any of the extant structures in the centre of Kilmarnock date from this period, the modern streetscape being virtually exclusively the product of development over the last 250 years, with a particular abundance of buildings dating from the Victorian period or later. The town minute books extend only as far back as 1686, and references to earlier town buildings from this source are therefore somewhat restricted, but available sources suggest that at least until the early 18 th century, Kilmarnock consisted of an irregular huddle of single storey thatched dwellings From the middle of the 18 th century, the substantial alterations made to the street plan of the town required an extensive programme of demolition and rebuilding, combined with a general upgrading of building standards. Not surprisingly, therefore, the most detailed information concerning town buildings is found in relation to 17 th and 18 th century public buildings. While this dominance is largely the result of the various phases of civic development and improvement that have characterised the period since the mid 18 th century, it is also true that the compact plan of the early settlement of Kilmarnock, with its narrow streets and thatched houses, meant that it was particularly at risk from fire. In 1668, various authorities testify that 'the whole of the town was burned making 120 families homeless (McKay, 1909, 201). Disasters of this type would have the inevitable effect of removing substantial portions of the upstanding fabric of the early town, though below-ground elements are likely to have survived. As a result, important information on the construction of the buildings of the early settlement may be recoverable through the use of archaeological techniques, both in relation to the monitoring of groundworks associated with the development of current gap sites, and in terms of the renovation of currently standing buildings, as the possibility exists that the structural remains of earlier buildings may survive beneath a later façade. Archaeological work in the John Finnie Street and Bank Street conservation area could therefore usefully attempt to determine details of the physical nature of town buildings prior to the 18 th century It would also be informative to explore the extent to which the buildings of the pre-18 th century town had a commercial and industrial use in addition to their residential function, as there is little or no evidence for the usage of early town buildings other than as dwelling houses. From the early 18 th century, the textile industry was a dominant feature of town life, and by 1777, 240 looms were employed in this industry. Unfortunately, spinning and weaving are likely to leave little trace in the archaeological record, though it is possible that artifactual evidence may be recoverable in the form of items such as combs or loom-weights. Traces of industries such as tanning and shoemaking are more readily identified, however, and it is known from documentary sources that in the 18 th century the burgh had two tan yards. Kilmarnock also had an extensive shoe trade during this period, and New Street, which was formed in 1748, was inhabited almost exclusively by shoemakers.
8 Page 90 of 135 Traces of this industry may survive in this area, though it has undergone subsequent redevelopment. Grange Street, close by College Wynd, was previously known as the 'Clay Mugs' relating to a pottery which once stood along its length. This industry also may be traceable in the archaeological record. Given that there is very little available information concerning the nature of town buildings before the 17 th century, future investigation could therefore be directed towards identifying evidence for industrial activity within the town. Recommendations 6.29 Redevelopment since the mid 18 th century, and particularly the large-scale alterations of the 20 th century, is likely to have had a significant and detrimental impact on the survival of archaeological deposits relating to earlier phases of the town s development. Nevertheless it is clear that there remains significant potential within the town centre generally and the conservation area, particularly around the post-medieval core. Appropriate steps should be taken to ensure appropriate levels or archaeological assessment and, if necessary, mitigation are taken in the following areas: Zone 1 Greatest Interest The post Medieval (Pre-Roy) core is likely to contain the very oldest parts of the town, and are currently thought to be centred around the Laigh Kirk and Cross area generally. Key areas would include: The Laigh Kirk and Churchyard Bank Street and Cheapside College Wynd and Low College (Laigh Kirk) Wynd. Strand Street including the eastern part of John Dickie Street (formerly part of Strand) The Cross and those parts of the Conservation Area immediately conterminous. Zone 2 Secondary Interest The 17 th and 18 th century core of the town (largely as illustrated on the Roy Map) reflect one of the most important periods in the town s history, with significant expansion to the north and northeast. Comparatively little is known of the phasing or patterns of development beyond this limited map data. This would include the remainder of the study area, however particular areas of potential would include: The upper part of Strand, Croft Street, and Dunlop Street Nelson Street and Grange Street The area extending north and northeast of the Cross generally, extending to the Old High Kirk and adjacent streets. The Cross and those parts of the Conservation Area immediately conterminous. John Finnie Street is believed to have largely been formed from undeveloped or garden ground, however of some note is the site of the former wagonway terminus at the south end and also where older streets such as Nelson Street traverse the route. Given the depth of cut at the northern end, deposits arising from the former Langlands House would appear unlikely but cannot be ruled out.
9 Page 91 of The Burgh Survey of Kilmarnock, compiled in 1981, considered that the area of potential archaeological interest was likely to be largely restricted to the locality enclosed by King Street and Portland Street on the east, Marnock Street on the south, John Finnie Street on the west, and West George Street on the north. While this relatively restricted area encompasses the majority of the John Finnie Street / Bank Street conservation area, the sections of it located outside the area identified in the Burgh Survey cannot be dismissed as being of no archaeological interest, as the aim of the Survey was to identify those areas within the burghs which were developed at various periods of their history up to approximately The management plan has a broader scope, considering all aspects of the potential archaeological heritage of the town. As such, sites relating to the development of the town during and since the Industrial Revolution would also be of interest, particularly as it is this period that has left the most visible traces in the modern streetscape indeed there is a compelling argument that this has shaped the existing environment in a way which more readily affects today s environment. Many buildings relating to this period remain as standing structures in Kilmarnock, and would warrant further study should they be proposed for removal as part of some future redevelopment scheme. As a minimum, it would be worthwhile undertaking a standing building survey of any of these buildings proposed for removal, to ensure that the structure is at least preserved by record to a suitable standard.
10 Page 92 of ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE 7.1 This section of the report seeks to summarise the detailed analyses and assessments undertaken, setting out what makes the John Finnie Street and of value and should therefore be protected. The assessment of significance listed below, is presented as "work in progress" and is not yet complete or comprehensive. It has been provided to give an initial guidance on the proposals for the Masterplan. It should be further reviewed and developed as the project progresses and more becomes known about the site. 7.2 Most historic sites are significant for a range of reasons, and it is important to understand all of its values in order that informed, balanced decisions can be made. For the purposes of this study we identified five key areas of significance: Historical value Architectural value Landscape Value Archaeological Value Natural Heritage Value 7.3 In considering the relative value of the various factors identified in our research, the project team has adopted a broad grading system. Each was assessed on a sliding scale of very high value, through high and medium, then low and none. Examples include: Historical To what extent is the site (or part of a site) associated with, or evidence of, important aspects of the nation s social, economic, cultural, or military history and/or closely associated with important people or events? Are these events and thus the site of international (very high), national (high), regional (medium), or local (low) significance? Architecture Is the design by an architect of national, regional or local importance of the architect? How do we defines the importance and interest of the building in terms of its intrinsic architectural merit (architectural design, plan form, decoration, and craftsmanship, building types and technological innovation or virtuosity)? Completeness To what extent is the site and its elements entire in terms of external characteristics, internal features and plan form. The completeness is referred to the original design of the building for each phase. Are later alterations a detrimental factor. This criterion will contribute to understand. Age & Rarity Group value How old are the features or buildings? Is the site, or this aspect of the site, an unusual or rare feature? Does it recommend an unusual or particularly level of survival, or alternatively is the design in itself rare or unique? Defines the extent to which an element of the site contributes to the architectural or historic interest of the wider group? How does it relate to any wider grouping such as the planned development of the town? Where does rest as part of the much wider group of such sites found nationally?
11 Page 93 of 135 Historical Value 7.4 The Bank Street Outstanding Conservation Area (OCA) is of inestimable historical value in demonstrating the development of Kilmarnock from the postmedieval period onwards, and is of considerable architectural merit.; from the surviving early core around the Laigh Kirk to the last and arguably most ambitious of the grand public streets which was developed from the early 19 th century onwards as Kilmarnock changed from a modest market town to a powerful industrial centre. 7.5 The post medieval core represents the very earliest history of Kilmarnock and is of inestimable value in helping us understand the origins of the town up until the early 19 th century. Much of the early town, particularly north and east of the town centre, has been lost however the remainder includes some of the most important parts of the early settlement: Sandbed (or Sandbed Street), comprising the main road into town from the south. Laigh Kirk and its environs, the area where the town is believed to have been founded. Bank Street and Place, and early planned expansion of the town Strand (or Strand Street), one of the principle thoroughfares and the key route to Glasgow. Croft Street, an important 17 th and 18 th century commercial area Nelson Street, the main road westwards, together with Dunlop and Grange Streets. Garden Street, one of the early roads north from the Strand Church Street, Soulis Street, and Boyd Street 17 th century streets around the High Kirk Figure 79: Strand Looking North with 1-3 Dunlop Street, Bond Stables, and Opera House (Knox)
12 Page 94 of The planned expansion of the town throughout the 19 th century defines the centre today, with a series of thoroughfares which reflected both the increasing wealth of Kilmarnock. The key areas of interest include: Titchfield Street and (High and Low) Glencairn Street, the earliest planned development King Street, replacing Sandbed as a more appropriate principal approach to the town. Portland Street, forming the new route to Glasgow and beyond St. Marnock Street, providing the first formal route to the west and the new suburbs. John Finnie Street, envisaged as the grand commercial thoroughfare for the town. Figure 80: Portland Street, Late 19 th Century (SCRAN) 7.7 There are also a number of specific properties which have important historic associations, whether through their age, relationship to key events, principal phases of expansion and development within the town, or through a relationship to important people or organisations. These include: The Laigh Kirk and Old High Kirk, the oldest churches in the town Sandbed or Old Bridge (excluding modern parapets), the oldest surviving structure The Wheatsheaf Inn (façade only), a rare 18 th century coaching inn 1-3 Dunlop Street, the only surviving pre-industrial building in Strand Nelson Street (to be confirmed), a possible late 18 th century domestic property. Facades, Garden Street (to be confirmed), probable late 18 th /early 19 th century Bank Street (tentative, to be confirmed), possibly late 18 th /early 19 th century fabric.
13 Page 95 of th Century Buildings and Structures Former George Hotel (Mason Murphy), the town s principal early 19 th century hotel The Ossington Hotel, links to Lady Ossington and the Temperance Movement Former Opera House, John Finnie Street, major local building Former Co-Op Headquarters (now Council Offices), John Finnie St./John Dickie St. Former Johnnie Walker Offices (now Council Offices), John Finnie St./John Dickie St. Former Oddfellows Hall, John Finnie Street Former Sheriff Court (now Procurator Fiscal), St. Marnock Street, and older fabric to rear St. Marnock Church, St. Marnock Street St. Marnock Bridge, St. Marnock Street, part of planned street development Railway Station, Langlands Brae/Station Brae, important early transport hub Former Bank of Scotland, Bank Street, important early local bank. Early 20 th Century Buildings and Structures Former Bonded Warehouses, Strand Street, major redevelopment and local industry Former Bond Stables, Strand Street, important part of warehouse complex 7.8 It should be noted that there exist further important historic buildings/structures immediately adjacent to the conservation areas. Particularly notable examples include the surviving New Bridge on King Street, the late 18 th or early 19 th century Goldsmith s Building, possibly parts of Cheapside including the Loudon Arms (incorporating a possible early close/wynd to river at rear), and the listed buildings along the western part of King Street. These all have an impact on the setting and character of the conservation area. Architectural Value 7.8 It contains no less that 61 listed properties, of which 40 almost two-thirds are category B or higher and thus legally defined as being of regional or national significance. There are two category A groups; John Finnie Street, one of the finest complete examples of a Victorian planned street in Scotland, and Laigh Kirk/Bank Street comprising the post-medieval core. 7.9 The Conservation Area can be divided into four historically and architecturally distinct zones: John Finnie Street; A superb example of a Victorian planned street, it is now category A listed as a group with many of the individual buildings listed category B or C in their own right. Although architectural styles vary, the consistent use of matching materials such as Ballochmyle sandstone unify the overall street to create a stunning example of its type. Key buildings include the Railway Station, Nos. 2-4 (former Ossington Hotel), 6-14 (former Opera House), the Council Offices, the grouping around the Post Office, (Co-Op Funeral Service), and the former Kilmarnock Standard Offices in Grange Street.
14 Page 96 of 135 Bank Street and Strand, which although composed of largely 19 th century buildings nevertheless follows the original post-medieval street plan. Architectural styles vary significantly, however buildings are overwhelmingly traditional with stonemasonry walls, timber sash and case windows, and slate roofs. Key Buildings include the Laigh Kirk, Sandbed Bridge, Johnnie Walker Whisky Bonds, Bond Stable, 1-3 Dunlop Street, Bank Street (former Bank of Scotland), Bank Street, 1-3 St. Marnock Place, and 5-7 St. Marnock Place. St. Marnock Street, perhaps the closest Kilmarnock ever had to a civic street, comprising a series of important public buildings which dominate this part of the town and serve as an important architectural gatepost to Dundonald Road, Portland Road, and John Finnie Street. Key Buildings include St. Marnock Church, the Procurator Fiscal s Office, and the more modern Sheriff Court West George Street and the surviving northern section of Portland Street comprising a mixture of 19 th and 20 th century, predominantly commercial and flatted buildings. A range of different uses and styles but nevertheless largely harmonious in overall composition, these streets demonstrate a range of traditional 19 th century two storey shops and houses typical of the town before modern redevelopment. Key Buildings include Portland Street (Mason Murphy), the former West High Church, the Old High Kirk and Kirkyard, and West George Street (Goodfellow and Fanny by Gaslight). Figure 81: Laigh Kirk From the West (A-S:L)
15 Page 97 of 135 Townscape Value 7.10 The conservation area is not just defined by the quality and style of individual buildings, but also how they contribute to the distinctiveness of the urban area John Finnie Street is one of the principal thoroughfares in the town centre, serving as the main arterial south-north route. The consistent massing of the buildings and materials used acts to create a largely cohesive streetscape which is without parallel in the southwest of Scotland. It is of inestimable value in defining the town today The intimate irregular streets of the Bank Street area is of principal importance is a pedestrian route today, with the enclosed views acting to define a sense of place. The modest scale of properties serves to emphasise the area s earlier routes and place additional focus on the dominant Laigh Kirk. The contrast with the grander planned Victorian Streets surrounding this part of town is marked and of considerable value. Archaeological Value 6.32 Despite modern redevelopment, there remains significant potential within the town centre generally and the conservation area, particularly around the post-medieval core. These have the potential to inform and educate us about a very poorly understood period in the town s development The post Medieval (Pre-Roy) core is likely to contain the very oldest parts of the town, and are currently thought to be centred around the Laigh Kirk and Cross area generally. Key areas would include: The Laigh Kirk and Churchyard Bank Street and Cheapside College Wynd and Low College (Laigh Kirk) Wynd. Strand Street including the eastern part of John Dickie Street (formerly part of Strand) The Cross and those parts of the Conservation Area immediately conterminous The 17 th and 18 th century core of the town (largely as illustrated on the Roy Map) reflect one of the most important periods in the town s history, with significant expansion to the north and northeast. Comparatively little is known of the phasing or patterns of development beyond this limited map data. This would include the remainder of the study area, however particular areas of potential would include: The upper part of Strand, Croft Street, and Dunlop Street Nelson Street and Grange Street The area extending north and northeast of the Cross generally, extending to the Old High Kirk and adjacent streets. The Cross and those parts of the Conservation Area immediately conterminous. Parts of John Finnie Street, particularly to the south and at Nelson Street
16 Page 98 of Sites relating to the development of the town during and since the Industrial Revolution are also of interest, particularly as it is this period that has left the most visible traces in the modern streetscape and many buildings relating to this period remain as standing structures. Natural Heritage Value 7.13 There is comparatively little open green space within the conservation area, although there are parks adjacent, and those areas which do exist are therefore particularly valuable in particular the Laigh Kirk kirkyard, but also the open areas and trees around St. Marnock s Church and the Old High Kirk.
17 Page 99 of VULNERABILITY AND RELATED ISSUES 8.1 This section of the Conservation identifies those issues which have affected the significance of the site in the past, and more importantly might affect it now or in the future, in order that policies can be brought forward to retain and enhance its value. Broadly speaking these fall into six main areas: Underlying Economic and Social Issues the impact of the local economic position and future outlook in supporting investment in and use of the historic environment. Ownership, management, and use is the current regime affecting the significance of the site? Is it appropriate? Are public and community expectations leading to conflict? Are there sufficient resources? Physical condition the current state of the fabric, previous inappropriate alterations, and conservation needs. Development and change how might the site be vulnerable to change in future? What impact will statutory requirements have? External factors are there any issues which adversely affect the site through visual intrusion, inappropriate development or uses, and traffic? Understanding is a lack of understanding of the site s significance leading to inadvertent damage or missed opportunities? Underlying Economic and Social Issues 8.2 A study undertaken in 2006 by Tribal HCH with Graham & Sibbald identified underlying economic conditions, in particular changing retail factors but also deprivation within Kilmarnock generally, as having a significant impact on the ability of the town centre (and hence the John Finnie Street and Bank Street conservation area) to attract and sustain sufficient investment. This in turn has an impact on both the general condition of the buildings and also the opportunity to address problem sites. 8.3 The seminal 2002 Review of Scotland s Cities recognised that towns like Kilmarnock faced some of the greatest challenges. A decade from now, if present trends continue, Glasgow will (at least proportionately) no longer be Scotland's great urban problem; rather it will be the smaller towns of the west. From the Clyde, out through East Ayrshire, down into the south-west and across to Argyll there is a wide arc of towns that will be losing some of their economic base, but will be unable to compete with thriving service growth at the core of the city-region. We need a new vision for towns, set in the context of their city-region to deal with these emergent issues. 8.4 In 2006 People and Places, the Scottish Executive s regeneration statement, recognised the needs of Ayrshire generally, outlining the effects of the decline in traditional industries, in creating persistently high levels of unemployment, deprivation and depopulation, and the opportunity to feed into and share the economic growth potential of the Clyde Corridor as regeneration plans for areas such as Inverclyde, Irvine Bay and Kilmarnock Town Centre evolve. Kilmarnock Town Centre is thus seen as a national priority alongside the two newly announced URC areas of Irvine Bay and Inverclyde.
18 Page 100 of Kilmarnock itself has lost population over the years, and East Ayrshire as a whole is projected to continue to lose population. Between the 1981 Census and the 2001 Census, the population of Kilmarnock and Loudoun Parliamentary constituency fell from 81,743 to 79,562 - a drop of 3% against 1% growth recorded for Scotland as a whole across the same period. The GRO projects further population decline for East Ayrshire. 8.6 In terms of economic activity, while in the period employment in Kilmarnock grew (6%) with a net growth of 1,500 jobs, it grew at a lower rate than Scotland as a whole (8%). Reflecting the competitive difficulties of the town centre, discussed below, the rate of growth in retail and catering employment was at 2% well behind the national average growth rate of 8% for the sector. 8.7 The manufacturing and construction sectors have together shown a net loss of over 1,600 jobs over the same 6 year period. Growth sectors were business and financial services (+900 jobs) and public administration, health and education (+1,700 jobs). Since 2004, we are aware of a further 1000 job losses from Stoddard carpets, First Choice call centre and others. 8.8 The fragility of Kilmarnock Town Centre is a consequence of the tendency for people to travel further for shopping and entertainment. In common with many Scottish towns, it has lost out as traditional civic, leisure and retail activities are captured by the cities and large out of town developments. 8.9 Despite considerable investment in public realm and a high quality environment in King Street, the town s prime retail street, rents remain relatively low. In May 2005, prime rents of 60 a square foot compared with 85 in Ayr, 75 in Irvine (the two traditional Ayrshire competitors) and in regional competitors such as Paisley, East Kilbride, Braehead and Glasgow, prime rents of 75, 115, 240 and 225 respectively A particular challenge for Kilmarnock is its exposure to competing centres, which has increased with the opening last year of a complete direct motorway connection to Glasgow (the M77). Centres such as Braehead are popular with Kilmarnock residents and now only 30 minutes away. Traders, including Marks and Spencer report the impact of the new road. The Pollok Centre (Silverburn), scheduled for completion in autumn 2007, will offer further competition. It will provide a one million square foot mid/high end retail complex even larger than Braehead with direct access from a new exit direct on the M77 only some 15 minutes away with secured tenants including Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. The new Kyle Centre in Ayr has also increased local competition There is clear evidence of market failure in the sustained vacancy of certain key properties, and scope to support property owners and developers who are willing to invest provided the economics of individual projects stack up. Investment in key sites will also support values and viability in adjoining property. Full details of values and demand are attached in the supporting report by Tribal HCH The area covered by the proposed THI crosses two data zones within Kilmarnock town centre S and S The 2004 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which calculates the deprivation at data zone level throughout the country, shows that both these areas exhibit levels of deprivation significantly above the average in Scotland as a whole. Deprivation levels are particularly pronounced in the data zone to the north of the THI area which includes part of the proposed northern extension to the conservation boundary.
19 Page 101 of Both data zones within the proposed THI area are ranked within the top 20% most deprived areas in Scotland with the area to the north of the THI (S ), ranking among the 100 most deprived areas in Scotland. Overall, the results of the 2004 SIMD indicate that some 59% of all residents living in the proposed THI area are income deprived, while 31% fall into the employment deprived category. These rates are far higher than the Scottish averages of 15% and 9% respectively Kilmarnock is a town with a high concentration of deprivation and disadvantage. 15 out of 43 data zones in the town (defined as shown in diagram 3) are ranked within the top 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. Overall, such areas account for 32% of the town s population, significantly higher than the Scottish average of 20%. Some 20% of all Kilmarnock residents fell into the income deprived category in the 2004 SIMD. Employment deprived residents accounted for 10% of the total population of the town. Ownership and Use 8.15 It is generally recognised that the best way of ensuring the means of ensuring the preservation of historic buildings is through continuing, economically sustainable uses. Maintaining and enhancing the quality the economic and social fabric of the historic environment is vital if it is to be passed on in good order to future generations Derelict and underused buildings together with gap sites can all contribute to economic blight and act as a barrier to regeneration. Prevailing economic and social issues have led to significant levels of vacant and underused properties within the town centre area, and as part of this report a preliminary assessment of use was undertaken This assessment took the form of a walk-round external inspection of each property, however the level of use was not always readily identifiable. In some cases apparently vacant rooms above shops were used as storage. In other cases residential or commercial use was occurring infrequently, and only comment from adjacent properties indicated that there was an occupier The assessment nevertheless confirmed the findings of Douglas Wheeler Associates much more exhaustive Kilmarnock Town Centre Living Initiative Feasibility Study of July This report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire, identified over 50 upper floor properties within the town centre (of which around half were within the conservation area) which appeared to be vacant Some of these buildings are of significant scale including the former Johnnie Walker Bonded Warehouse and the former Kilmarnock Standard Offices in Grange Place. These have a major impact on the amenity of the surrounding area Of considerable concern is the concentration of underused and vacant buildings in two main groups; the northern block in John Finnie Street, bounded by Strand Street and Dunlop Street, and the properties around the Post Office. It should be noted that there is a close correlation between these and the buildings in poorest condition Although apparently in-use (at least partially) at the time of the survey, the former Expo night club in West George Street also acts as a bar to wider redevelopment of the street, effectively restricting a large part of the street to intermittent use which in turn does little to support or encourage redevelopment of surrounding properties. This is of particular concern given the relative isolation of the northern part of Portland Street.
20 Page 102 of 135 Figure 82: Vacant Buildings Johnnie Walker Bonded Warehouse (A-S:L) Figure 83: Gap Sites 10 Strand Street circa 1967 (John Hume Collection) Figure 84: Gap Sites Former Opera House, 6-14 John Finnie Street (A-S:L)
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