Linlithgow Civic Trust is delighted to nominate the Pollock Hammond Partnership for the imaginative transformation of the B-listed Star and Garter Hotel at 1 High Street in Linlithgow. The hotel building was originally built for Provost John Boyd in 1759. This important building to the east of Linlithgow High Street subsequently became a coaching inn and was a regular meeting point for the Linlithgowshire and Stirlingshire hunt. For many years the Star and Garter Hotel played host to countless meetings, weddings and society functions. In October 2010 a devastating fire largely destroyed the historic structure. Sixty firemen just managed to prevent the complete collapse of the building. The four stark walls of the old hotel stood whilst ground floor bars, restaurant, kitchen and ancillary rooms remained but were damaged by water and smoke damage. Two local businessmen, David Kennedy and Ross Wilkie commissioned the Pollock Hammond Partnership to prepare proposals to restore the hotel. The project was successfully completed in November 2013. The remaining shell of the building was found to be structurally sound, albeit roofless and lacking its original chimneys. The latter were rebuilt in stone, and the roof reinstated and clad with second hand Scottish slate. The original windows to the High Street elevation, which had survived the fire remarkably intact, were repaired and the inappropriate cementitious harling, which had lost its bond through moisture penetration between fire and restoration, was replaced with a correct lime harl finish.
The gutted building offended local townsfolk. Initially a trust was set up to raise funds to restore the building. Finally two enterprising businessmen took up the challenge. The result for Linlithgow has exceeded the expectations of all. The new design retained the essence of the well known and loved building but incorporated five bedrooms with integrated private bathrooms. The design incorporates a fine function room at first floor level incorporating four traditional sash windows. A modern bistro at the rear is a successful modern addition complimenting the original. The opportunity was taken to upgrade ground floor bars, restaurant and ancillary functions which had survived the fire. Linlithgow Civic Trust commends the energy and vision of the architects as well as the enterprise of the new owners who overcome considerable challenges in the success of rebuilding in the Linlithgow Area of Outstanding Conservation Area. Internally, what had been a rabbit-warren of tiny bedrooms on first and second floors had been lost and the opportunity to re-plan the interior resulted in a grand function room spanning the four-window width of the High Street elevation and five ‘boutique’ style bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms on the top floor. The conservatory extension into the east courtyard was replaced with a properly insulated and more sympathetically designed dining room and lean-to ancillary accommodation (and a possible future micro-brewery) was constructed against the station retaining wall, around the courtyard - which has now been transformed into a pleasant enclosed external drinking space. New and extended toilet accommodation was housed on the ground floor, and the bitty and untidy courtyard space which lay to the rear of the building and which was prominently seen from the approach to the railway station, was developed with a modern zinc-roofed bistro and coffee shop extension accessed from the station forecourt - a boon to those seeking a coffee and bacon roll on their way to the train! This rear access also interlinked with the first floor function room to give access for the disabled to all of the public spaces of the hotel. The bistro and coffee shop also incorporates a balcony and ground level sitting out areas for sunny days, on the south side of the building.