On the High StreetEdit
The High Street until the 1980s carried a growing amount of road traffic. The High Street has been pedestrianised since 1989.
Built in the late 1980s replacing shops and car parks at the bottom of the High Street. It incorporates the whole area enclosed by Assembly Street, Nith Place, Irish Street and the High Street. Up until the centre's construction this area saw a great deal of change in a relatively short period of time.
The Nith Place side originally included the Mechanics Institute and the Liver Inn. Many of the buildings had fell into disrepair and were demolished over time.In 1972 Nith Place was being widened and the remaining space at the bottom of this area became a car park. Further up the High Street, the Lyceum cinema closed in late 1969. The Lyceum and adjacent buildings were quickly demolished in early 1970. A supermarket (originally Templetons later Presto) and several small shops were built on this site. After Presto moved to the other side of the High Street in early 1982 the original supermarket was occupied by a number of different businesses including Poundstretchers and Iceland. Eventually these shops were all closed and demolished when construction of the Loreburne Centre began.
This was a major redevelopment across the High Street from the Loreburne Centre. A large section of the High Street was demolished (starting in 1974) and rebuilt. This included replacing the Kings Arms Hotel with a large shop with similar external features. This shop was occupied by Boots around 1980 having moved from a smaller shop it had occupied for some time further up the High Street near the Midsteeple. The development was constructed in a number of phases the work was finally completed in 1982 with the completion of the underground car park and the new Presto supermarket.
FountainEditThe town centre fountain sits at the junction of English Street and the High Street. Made of iron and built in 1882. Constructed on the site of an earlier fountain built in 1850 to celebrate the first piped water supply in the town. The original fountain was moved to the grounds at the front of Nithbank Hospital.
The 1882 fountain was sculpted and cast by the Smith (Sun) Foundry in Glasgow. The foundry closed in 1899 and this remains as one of the few larger cast iron features the foundry created.
Built between 1705 and 1707. Originally contained the town's weigh-house, guard house and town hall. It has also served as the town's registry office.There are several plaques on the south side of the building. Among them is an image of St. Michael and a list of distances to other towns. There is also a large map of how Dumfries looked in 1759. This was placed on the building in 1959 to mark 200 years since the birth of Robert Burns.
The ground floor consists of shops including the electricity showroom that first opened in 1934. The showroom moved across the road to the Trades Hall building in 1963.
The main entrance is at the top of a set of steps leading to the first floor. This entrance at one time had a Grecian style stone portico. The portico was removed in 1907, more recently the entrance has had a portico made of metal.
The building has been renovated several times. Extensive repairs that included removing the original "Steeple" took place in 2007.
This building currently at No. 108-114 between the Midsteeple and the fountain was built in the 1930s. It replaced several buildings. At the front, was a building originally used as a coffee house and later a temperance hotel. This was built in 1731. Given it's prominent location it can be seen in many old photographs of the high street.
Behind the coffee house was the Tolbooth originally built in 1481. This building was used for council meetings until 1832. Probably the most famous feature of the Tolbooth were the Rainbow Stairs in Old Union Street. Under these was a small lock-up where prisoners were kept. The lock-up was in use until the Midsteeple was built in 1707.
The following is a list of the owners/proprietors of the coffee house and approximate dates, established from photographs and other sources..
George Johnston Approx 1803
(Andrew) Ingrams 1859 - 1875?
Elizabeth Shaw or Smith 1867
S. Maxwell - Unknown
Hugh Logan 1894 - 1902
John Raphael 1905 - 1906
Temperance Hotel 1911 - 1920
No signage 1930s
Church Place is at the NW end of the High Street. The large number of streets meeting here and previous building demolitions makes the building addresses seem somewhat random. It is only the few buildings between the High Street and St. Andrew's Street that have a Church Place address. All the buildings between Buccleuch Street and Friars Vennel are part of Castle Street. Many of the buildings in Church Place and at the end of Castle Street were demolished in 1937 to aid the flow of traffic at this busy junction.
Burns StatueEditProposed in 1877 and built in 1882. Originally placed in Church Place at the junction of High Street, Castle Street, Buccleuch Street and St Andrews Street. The plinth was raised around 1883.
Moved 35 feet (12 metres) to current location in 1938. The statue was placed in the centre of a roundabout with benches and flower beds surrounding it. The design of the roundabout was substantially altered around 1990 after pedestrianisation of the town centre. The statue was completely surrounded by a raised flower bed with benches around the outside. The layout of the area changed again in 2014 and the area surrounding the statue is constructed of granite.
A cannon from the Crimean War (1853-1856) sat in the area before the construction of the statue. This cannon now sits outside Dumfries Museum.
Current church built 1866-1868 replacing 18th century construction. The foundation stone was placed on the 11 May 1866. While excavating the foundations, relics were found from Dumfries Castle which had been on the site previously.
The previous church was built in 1727 and was known as "The New Church/Kirk". Eventually the church became structurally unsound and it was demolished in 1865.