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Perth Sheriff Court

An exceptionally fine Neo-Classical edifice located on Tay Street in E Central Perth, overlooking the river, Perth Sheriff Court dates from 1822 and was the work of London-based architect Sir Robert Smirke (1780 - 1867), who designed the British Museum. The building cost the considerable sum of £32,000 but has been A-listed since 1965 owing to its architectural importance. A Greek Revival portico projects in the centre of the 13-bay single-storey facade. This portico is supported on eight Doric columns which were originally carved for Broomhall House (Fife), but never used. The layout of the interior remains principally that of Smirke, although the decoration mostly dates from a remodelling in 1867 by David Smart (1824 - 1914). The southern section of the building was originally County Hall (an assembly room), but has subsequently been reused as an open-plan office for the court. The adjacent prison was demolished in 1968, but there are still holding cells at the rear of the court used for prisoners awaiting appearance.

The Court stands on the site of the former Gowrie House - the location for the Gowrie Conspiracy which surrounded an attempt on the life of King James VI (1566 - 1625) in 1600. Gowrie House is remembered with a bronze panel by Sir John Steell (1804-91) on the south wall of the present building.


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