Rothesay Pavilion, Argyle Street, Rothesay

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Rothesay Pavilion
Other Name(s)
Argyle Street, Rothesay
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 08372 65068
Location Type
HS Reference No


Asymmetrical, 2-storey and basement International Style entertainment pavilion with fully-glazed bowed wing to outer left cantilevered over recessed bowed, glazed vestibule; cantilevered canopy over 2nd floor terrace. Light buff-coloured synthetic stone (ashlar appearance); raised base, string and eaves courses; flat roofs. Overhanging terrace at 1st floor above central entrance; cubic stair projection off-set to right of centre; sheer wall above glazed row (ballroom) running full-width behind; raised red letters depicting "Pavilion" centred within. 2-storey, flat-roofed house to rear (converted for use as nursery late 20th century); harled; corniced eaves; projecting cills; similar glazing.

With the beginning of a new century and holiday-makers now free to travel with their cars, sea-side resorts were forced to do as much as possible to make themselves attractive. Thus, the emergence of leisure pavilions such as those in Dunoon, Prestwick, Gourock and Rothesay. Here, with a dance hall forming the bulk of the structure, glazing rows and cantilevered canopies, Carrick designed a pavilion which offered "...the Glasgow holidaymaker an experience at the forefront of style in Scotland" (McKean p86).

Today, the building remains intact despite recent redecoration - note the early use of concealed electric lighting and air-conditioning, large expanses of curtain-wall glazing, flat roofs and roof walks. The promenade roof behind the upper balcony was finished in Lavacrete to give a dry surface immediately after rain. The original interior scheme was specifically designed to give the effect of a sunrise.

Walker refers to this as "International Style Modernism at its best with little if anything of its period to equal it in Scotland" (p159). His photograph shows the main stair prior to redecoration with stepped, blocked bannisters and enclosed lights on each newel (now gone).

Category changed from B to A, 21 April 2005 in recognition of this building being one of the most significant pleasure buildings of the style in the country, surviving in remarkably intact condition. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
James Carrick

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
August 1991
, June 2000, November 2008, 04/12/2009, 30/8/2012
Development History
June 2000: External inspection reveals the pavilion to remain in use, though it is in poor condition. 18 July 2003: The Glasgow Evening Time reports that the pavilion is suffering from structural damage, fading décor and crumbling stonework. However, Argyll and Bute Council has appointed The Edinburgh Consultancy to prepare regeneration plans. 11 March 2005: The Buteman reports that Historic Scotland has indicated the building may be upgraded to an A-listing, which would make it eligible for grant aid. September 2007: The Buteman reports that an application is being drawn up for funding for a project planning grant of £20,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The piece notes that only the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea is thought to surpass the Rothesay Pavilion as a survivng example of the International Style in Britain
November 2008: Inspection finds the building in use but in need of repair. Receptionist reports that the building is due to be restored with support from Argyll and Bute council and the Prince‘s Regeneration Trust. Set to ALERT.
June 2009: BBC news website reports on blueprint plans for the CHORD project being agreed by Argyll and Bute Council. The project includes a planned £2.4 million for Rothesay, a part of which is for the renovation of Rothesay Pavilion.
December 2009: External inspection finds the building remains in use, but possibly underused. Closer inspection finds signs of structural movement and some rusting of reinforced concrete elements. Continue to monitor at ALERT for progression of repair scheme.
February 2012: Argyll and Bute Council and the Prince‘s Regeneration Trust (PRT) forward detailed information on the structural issues facing the building. Whilst the concrete primary structure is not facing major issues, the cast stone cladding is of concern. It is badly stained, spalling in places. Diagnostic analysis has found a significant number of blocks are fully carbonated. Steel framed windows and screens have passed their service life and are now allowing small amounts of water ingress into the building. Steel windows are ungalvanised and deformed in places. The interior remains in reasonable condition although original fixtures, fittings and paint colourings have been removed and replaced with inferior products. The building remains partly in use, but the facilities need upgrading to enable the building to function fully as a modern public venue, notably ensuring compliance with current disability access legislation. There is currently no thermal insulation to walls, roof or floors. No mechanical ventilation is in place, and the majority of the electrical installation is unsafe. PRT has prepared a Conservation Plan, Condition Survey, Feasibility Study and Business Plan for the site, on behalf of the Council. Total project costs for comprehensive conservation, repair and alteration have been projected at £6.5 million. The Council recognise the significance of the building as a heritage asset and have included the Pavilion as a key project within the CHORD programme of regeneration across Argyll and Bute. Significant funds have been identified within this programme towards repairs and upgrading, but further funding is being sought to ensure the future of the Pavilion. Argyll and Bute Council have submitted initial major match-funding applications. Moved to At Risk.
18 April 2012: Historic Scotland announces the restoration scheme for the Pavilion has been awarded £500,000 from the Building Repair Grant scheme.
30 August 2012: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit. The building remains under-used and deterioration of the cast stone cladding is evident.
2 September 2014: Listed Building Consent for adaptive restoration with alterations and additions to form mixed use cultural and sports building is being sought ref: 14/01827/LIB.
4 February 2015: BBC news website notes that with the latest grant aid award of £3million from the Heritage Lottery Fund the restoration of the pavilion can now commence. The construction works for the £8 million redevelopment of the Pavilion are expected to commence in Autumn and is anticipated to re-open in Summer 2017.
28 August 2015: Listed Building Consent for the restoration of the building is being sought ref: 15/02181/LIB.
5 May 2016: A member of the public notes the Pavilion has closed for renovations. Moved to Restoration in Progress.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Public User
Present/Former Uses
Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: Theatre Former Use 1: Dance Hall
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: Theatre
Name of Owners
Argyll and Bute Council
Type of Ownership
Local Authority

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Online Resources
Concert Halls
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit