Wolf Craig

Designed by Stirling architect John Allan in 1897 for grocers Robertson & MacFarlane. It is an early example of a partially steel framed building.

Sitting on the corner of Dumbarton Road and Port Street, the Wolf Craig is one of the many buildings around Stirling that has a tribute to a local legend, the Stirling Wolf. The legend tells of how Stirling was saved from Viking raiders by a howling wolf which alerted the sentry to the impending attack.

The Wolf Craig building was designed in 1897 by Stirling architect John Allan, created as a grocer’s emporium for Robertson & MacFarlane. The building reflects Allan’s enthusiasm for the history of Stirling, new architectural techniques and symbolism.

The design makes extensive use of steel, a material which was still considered to be experimental in the last decade of the 19th century. The first steel-framed building in Scotland may have been the Scotsman building in Edinburgh, designed by Dunn and Findlay in 1899. The Wolf Craig even had its own electricity generator, the first retail building in Stirling to be lit by electricity.

The external design is striking. The five storeys of Welsh Ruabon brickwork sit below a lead-covered ‘cup and saucer’ dome. On the Dumbarton Road elevation, next to John Allan’s signature, you can find a carved wolf.

There are also nine mysterious panels across the building. Some are more easily interpreted than others; the letters as a swirling rope, R and M for the owners of the building; and the Castle Rock and Stirling Bridge with two keys. Other panels are harder to decipher and make the building even more intriguing.


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