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My Favourite John Allan Building by Andy McEwan

IMG 2551

Building designed by John Allan, Architect, 9 Spittal Street

My favourite John Allan building. Plenty of choice, perhaps Batterflats Mansion, his first brick building at 55 Baker Street – what a statement or the stunning concoction that is Wolf Craig. All possible but no, I’m going for 9 Spittal Street, a modest building built in 1913 as a sale room but it just sums up everything that makes him special and the last building that he designed from scratch.

Two storey red brick building
9 Spittal Street ©SCHT

But it’s all here, cavity brick with brick cavity ties as he pioneered 16 years previously at Albany Crescent and still pioneering in 1913, steel a relatively new building material, but so John Allan not to conceal it but proudly show it and of course a dated panel (who else would have dared do it!), ‘as thoht is fre, hud veil yer tung, I adviz the’, finished with the highly stylised version of his name. It is all just so John Allan.

Red brick with a stone panel engraved with symbols and words 'as thoht is fre, hud veil yer tung, I adviz the’
Panel on façade of 9 Spittal Street with the motto, date and signature ©SCHT

We can be so grateful that John Allan chose Stirling to establish his practice, he has left us a wonderful and unique legacy. He was a visionary who was never afraid to embrace the new.

Andy McEwan


Andy McEwan is a Chartered Valuation Surveyor with over 30 years post-qualification experience. He is involved in many local groups including Stirling Local History Society and, through this involvement, has co-written a published leaflet on the local architect John Allan, conducted walking tours on the architecture of Stirling and spoken at many local events. Andy is Deacon of the Incorporation of Hammermen of Stirling – one of the seven Incorporated Trades in the City, and is also a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Carse of Stirling and a member of the Guildry of Stirling. All of these organisations promote local traditions and Andy has taken a key role in the revival of the Walking of the Marches in Stirling.

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