A Little Bit of History
Maintenance & Building Preservations were asked to complete the Structural Timber repairs on the Falkirk Steeple, an historic landmark on Falkirk’s High Street since the late 15th Century.
The current Falkirk Steeple structure - or, simply, The Steeple as it is affectionately known by the Falkirk Community – dates back to 1814 and encompasses a combination of architectural styles, designed by David Hamilton (1768 – 1843) and constructed using sandstone from the Brighton's quarry nearby.
The first and second stages of the tower are traditional and plain, yet the third stage is in the style of Greek Doric with its four columns at each corner. The fourth stage displays Italianate style and holds the iconic clock faces. The fifth stage has Ionic columns – the smallest of the columns, characterised by the spiral, scroll like adornments at the top.
The original steeple structure, which stood in the same place on Falkirk High Street, was constructed in 1697 and acted as the town’s tollbooth until the late 18th Century. This structure was demolished after the construction of an adjacent building caused the steeple to subside. The spire also suffered damaged on 17th June 1927, when it was struck by lightning, causing the historic cockerel weather vane to be thrown from the Steeple. The same cockerel was restored to its rightful place two years later, overlooking Falkirk town, where it has resided since 1814.
The preservation work on Falkirk Steeple is part of a larger Townscape Heritage Initiative which, among many things, aims is to encourage the local community to engage with Falkirk’s heritage. With a budget of £750,000, the Steeple Project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.
Ian Scott, Chairman of the Falkirk Local History Society was kind enough to provide us with images of the Steeple in 1904, which were featured on a postcard. The second image is from the front of the Falkirk District Council Building Control Handbook. Once the preservation work is completed the Steeple will be open to the public for visits to encourage the Falkirk community to learn about local history.