M301 Competition design for the Usher Hall, EdinburghAddress: Lothian Road, Edinburgh
Client: Edinburgh City Council
In 1896 the wealthy Edinburgh-based whisky distiller, Andrew Usher, gifted £100,000 to the City of Edinburgh for the construction of a city hall, with a capacity of 3000 people, and in which music would be performed and enjoyed. Difficulties over securing a site delayed the project; the design competition was not announced until April 1910. Sir Aston Webb was assessor with the City architect, I. A. Williamson. 1 The final site was in the heart of the city, between Castle Terrace and Lothian Road. 130 entries were received. The winners, with a classical Beaux-Arts design, were Stockdale Harrison and Sons and Howard H. Thomson of Leicester. 2 The completed building was officially opened on 16 March 1914.
Authorship: Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh appear to have submitted a design for the competition: Alexander McGibbon was paid six guineas on 9 November 1910 for 'Usher hall', presumably a perspective. 3 No further information has come to light to determine what if any involvement Mackintosh had in the submission.
Cost from office job book:
1: British Architect, 73, 15 April 1910 p. 268.
2: British Architect, 74, 29 July 1910, p. 57.
3: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889-1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 137.