Caledonian Road School


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

Perth Civic Trust

Architect or lead designer:

Caledonian Road School

Local Authority Area:

Perth & Kinross

Nominating Body:

Perth Civic Trust

Project Description

This B listed 3-storey, rectangular plan, free Jacobean style school with symmetrical, 3-bay elevations, building is situated on prominent corner site. It is squared and snecked red sandstone with ashlar margins with a base course, cill course, band course, and cornice. Dutch gables; bipartite windows with stone mullions and transoms, some round headed.

Caledonian Road School is an impressive and landmark building on the edge of Perth city centre, designed by celebrated Perth architect Andrew Heiton Jnr, and dated 1892. Heiton Jnr perhaps did more than any other architect to shape the character of later 19th century Perth, and Caledonian Road School is both striking and meticulously detailed. The style also lent itself well to constricted sites, of which Caledonian Road is a clear example. The school sits on the corner of Caledonian Road (W) and Alexandra Street (S), with the playground wrapping around the North and East sides of the building, making all four elevations clearly visible as public faces. It unusually retains some of the original decorative railings around the perimeter of the school grounds. A later `Advanced Department’ building sits to the NE, dated 1900. Although the school is very traditional and austere in appearance, the design was forward thinking and innovative, making light and ventilation key elements of the finished building and also demonstrates adaptable teaching spaces, an idea adopted much later in modern school design. The distinctive red sandstone used in the construction of the school came from Corncockle Quarry in Dumfries.

One of the key features of the building was the steel staircase with its low risers to each tread designed for the primary school pupils. Fortunately although not used by the current occupiers, the staircase, enclosed with wire protection, remembered by all former pupils, has been carefully retained. The photos illustrate this lovely stair.

Supporting Statement

When the school closed in 2010 this landmark building remained vacant for some years on the At Risk Register before Caledonia Housing Association acquired the site for residential development in conjunction with Campion Homes. The original 1892 three storey building has been converted into 24 affordable flats and a further 21 new build flats all for rent by Caledonia Housing Association. The 2-storey Annexe Building accommodates another 6 affordable flats. The new build unit has been developed in similar style on the site. The South facing school courtyard has been sympathetically developed and named after Andrew Heiton.

The Caledonian School is held in fond memory in Perth. Private developers were discouraged by the scale and listing of the building, to offer a sufficiently attractive consideration to convert the building. The Caledonia Housing Association with public sector funding partners have not only saved the building but have provided imaginative accommodation in an open setting. The building once again stands proud as an example of Perth’s fine heritage. It is an example not only of an excellent conversion but as the opportunities that can be developed with care and a recognition of the history and use of the building. The public sector funding led by Caledonia Housing Association demonstrates the advantages of reusing redundant older buildings that have stood the test of time, and the commitment of the Public Sector to productively re-using the heritage.