1902 – Scottish Provident, Donegall Sq., Belfast

Architect: Young & Mackenzie

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A large office building constructed in stages from 1899-1902, the Scottish Provident Institution is constructed of Glasgow blonde sandstone. The main entrance on the corner of Wellington Place is presided over by a disconsolate group of a widow and her two children – other statuary on the domes and pediment have now been removed. The sculptures are by Purdy & Millard.

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“[It] is faintly reminiscent of the work of Cuthbert Brodrick in Leeds. The central bay is bowed; there are six floors and an an attic storey; heavy engaged Corinthian columns run through the third, fourth and fifth floors. The octagonal domes at the corners, with heavy knops, are not very successful. . . . there are two large sphinxes, four dolphins, sixteen lion’s heads, and seventeen queens; four panels showing printing, ropemaking, shipbuilding, and spinning [Belfast’s principal industries at the time], all being carried on by amoretti; and at the corner of Wellington Place, a rather nauseating marble group in a pompous aedicule compromising a semi-nude lady doing her hair; a small boy imitating her; and another lady looking on in surprise: apparently modelled on ‘the beautiful seal’ of the Scottish Provident Institution. All the carvings are by Purdy and Millard.” (C. E. B. Brett, pp. 58-59)

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