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Battle of the Styles (clip 1)

The history of Scottish architecture

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Documentary highlighting the work of several eminent Scottish architects focussing on the Gothic, Renaissance and Classical styles in 19th Century Scotland. Styles mentioned are Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance. This clip includes shots of architects at work on drawing boards. Views of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Scottish Academy and National Gallery, with close ups of architectural detail; shots of Scott Monument and St John's Episcopal Church; shots of the Edinburgh New Town including Charlotte Square; Renaissance architecture in Glasgow including Procurator's Hall and Library, mansion house, Park Circus, Kirklee Terrace, Gothic folly. Exterior and interior shots of Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church, Observatory Road, Glasgow, Trinity Church, Irvine; St Paul's Church, Edinburgh. Donaldson's Hospital (now the school for the deaf), University of Glasgow, Templeton's Carpet Factory, Glasgow. Other buildings include Maybole Castle, Ayrshire; model village for railway workers at Cowlairs; St Enoch Railway Station, Glasgow; Forth Rail Bridge; Glasgow University; Wellington CHurch, Glasgow; Union Street, Aberdeen, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Royal High School and Memorial to Robert Burns. Architects mentioned are: Robert Adam, Charles Wilson, W H Playfair, David Bryce and Archibald Simpson.

Questions & Activities


  • Why was Gothic a preferred style of churches?
  • Where does the word "goth" originate from?
  • What is the difference between ornament material and underlying style?
  • What is the difference between style and fashion?
  • What is really new in architecture?
  • What should a church look like?
  • Would you prefer to live in an old building or a new one?
  • How important is it that we should preserve old buildings?


Architecture / Art and Design: List the different types of architectural styles mentioned. Break into groups with each group researching a particular style. Present your findings to the class.

Architecture / Art and Design: Why is there no mention of modernism and postmodernism in this film? Research whether these would be considered original styles by the filmmakers and what characterizes them as so.

History / Social Studies: Take a walking tour of your nearest city centre and try to identify the styles of some of historical buildings.

History / Architecture / Art and Design: What are the three styles of Greek architecture - take pictures that show these.

Art and Design / History: Take photographs of any distinctive buildings and try to identify their stylistic lineage.

Art and Design: Research what has replaced the drawing board in the architects office today and how has this affected the way architects work today.

Art and Design: Research the architecture style of the Scottish Government building. What influences does it use?

Social Studies: Physically find the oldest building in your local area and photograph it.

Art and Design: Research the Scots Baronial style and present your findings.

English: Debate - for and against modern and old techniques.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-307-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2319
Date 1968
Genre Documentary, Educational
School Subject History, Geography, Art and Design, Social Studies
Subject Matter Architecture
Who Educational Films of Scotland (sponsor), Park Films Scotland (production company)
Where Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Irvine, Queensferry
Event Architecture
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 9:51
Film Length 18:00