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Pioneering Scottish architect recognised by Historic Scotland

24 July 2007

Three striking buildings have been given statutory protection following a review of the work of Scottish modernist architect Peter Womersley.

High Sunderland, the Rig and the Garlton unit at Hermandflat Hospital have all been listed by Historic Scotland in recognition of their regional and national importance.

Dr Deborah Mays, Historic Scotland head of listing, said: “Each of these buildings is visually striking and immediately recognisable as the work of Womersley.

“Scotland, and Galashiels in particular, should be immensely proud of Womersley. People often assume that listed buildings should be made of stone and be very traditional, but it is vital that modern architecture is protected too.

“It demonstrates that Scotland continues to produce exceptional designers, builders and engineers who move beyond accepted ideas and challenge what we expect from our homes, offices and public buildings.”

Womersley also designed the football stadium in his hometown of Galashiels. The Gala Fairydean ground was listed in 2006 during a resurvey of the area by Historic Scotland listing inspectors.

Womersley’s work is recognised across Europe for his use of concrete, glass and colour to create dramatic shapes that go beyond the purely functional.

High Sunderland is an example of this, marrying modernist design and warmth to create a family home for his friend the textile designer Bernat Klein.

Mr Klein said: “Peter Womersley, with whose work we were familiar, was a close friend whose gifts as an architect we formed the highest opinion. The A listing of one of his buildings would have pleased him very much, as indeed it pleases us.

“High Sunderland, built on a very modest budget, remains, to our minds, a unique and practical example of intellectual awareness applied to daily living.”
Dr Mays added: "Once a building is listed, consent is needed to make alterations. This ensures that any change is managed carefully and the character and setting of the building is preserved to be enjoyed by present and future generations.”

Notes for Editors

  • High Sunderland  in Galashiels is listed at category A. The Rigg in Melrose and Garlton Unit of Hermanflat Hospital in  Haddington are category B. Copies of the list description can be requested from Lesley Brown on 0131 668 8603 or by emailing Lesley.brown@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.


  • Historic Scotland is responsible on behalf of Scottish Ministers for compiling and maintaining Lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. To conserve the character of Scotland’s built heritage, listing affords statutory protection, ensuring proper examination of planning applications to demolish, alter or extend listed buildings. For more information on listing visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/listing.

  • There are three categories of listings: Category A - of national or international importance, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, or building type; Category B - of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style of building type which may have been altered. Category C (S)  - of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B or are part of a planned group such as an estate or industrial complex.

  • There are around 47,000000 listed buildings in Scotland and more than 150 post-war structures are listed.  The earliest post-war listings include the David Marshall Lodge, Aberfoyle (designed in 1958 by James Shearers), and the Spean Bridge Commando Memorial (designed in 1951 by Scott Sutherland). The ‘youngest’ post-war building to be protected is the former Cummins diesel factory at Shotts (now Centrelink 5)  which was designed by Ahrends Burton and Koralek, with Ove Arup and Partners (1975-83.)

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Executive charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information


Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873
lesley.brown@scotland.gsi.gov.uk