Visiting Lockerbie, Scotland, With Its Magnificent Town Hall: Towered Scottish Baronial Style Architecture
Glowing stone and remembrance
[This visit occurred a number of years ago.]
Lockerbie, Scotland, has a magnificent example of civic architecture in Scottish Baronial- and Jacobean-style architecture. This fine, impressive building was completed in 1891. The town of Lockerbie is situated in the Dumfries and Galloway Region, in the Scottish Lowlands. It has historically been a trading centre for a district heavily involved in agriculture.
Some features of the building
A particularly noteworthy aspect of the building is the clock tower which forms an imposing landmark in the town and surrounding area. The tower incorporates bartizans: overhanging, wall-mounted turret features, redolent of French chateaux, which are rather striking.
The building has a moulded round-arched doorway with recessed columns (1).
The fact that the structure was executed in red sandstone has the effect that on a sunny day its walls easily catch the light, causing this civic building to glow magnificently. The stone is in fact a typical local building material.
Lockerbie's town hall clock tower reminds me of the similar-looking tower of the Town House of Aberdeen: the difference being that the Aberdeen structure is in granite. However, in the right light conditions, given the use of red sandstone in Lockerbie's Town Hall, it may almost be described as even more impressive than Aberdeen's historic, civic structure.
The Town Hall was originally planned by way of commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Architect David Bryce
Lockerbie Town Hall's architect was David Bryce (1803-1876), who died before the structure was built; another of Architect Bryce's creations was the Main Building of Fettes College, Edinburgh, and the frontage to the Bank of Scotland Headquarters, The Mound, Edinburgh.
Pan Am Flight 103
Complementing a Garden of Remembrance in the town, a window in the Low Chamber of the Town Hall incorporates a memorial, with poignant flag motifs, to the victims of Pan Am Flight 103. The town of Lockerbie is inextricably linked in the minds of many people with the air disaster on 21 December 1988, when a bomb explosion occurred on Flight 103 in mid-air over the town. 243 passengers and 16 crew members perished in the catastrophe. In addition, 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie also died in this most tragic of events.
Interestingly, many former residents of Lockerbie have moved away from the town since the tragic events of 21 December 1988. Indelibly associated with the tragedy in many people's minds, the town might indeed be perceived by some of its older residents as never having the possibility of being the same again. When a deeply traumatic event such as Pan Am Flight 103 occurs, it is doubtless always difficult for the locality involved to strike a right balance between proper, permanent commemoration and a resolute determination to move on, with some sense of closure. Such dilemmas must indeed have been very acute at Lockerbie, since for overseas visitors especially the town is probably almost exclusively known for its involvement in the grim events of 21 December 1988: this in the nature of things is perhaps inevitable.
(1) See: British Listed Buildings, http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/sc-37579-high-street-town-hall-
Also worth seeing
Glasgow (distance: 115 kilometres); its many visitor attractions include the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; City Chambers; St Mungo's Cathedral.
Edinburgh (distance: 117 kilometres); its numerous places of interest include the Castle; the Scott Monument; the Royal Mile.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Glasgow Airport, where car rental is available. Bus and rail links are maintained between Glasgow and Lockerbie. Please note that facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.