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Duchray Valley, Valve House, Also Known As Basin House (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

A Category B Listed Building in Aberfoyle, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.164 / 56°9'50"N

Longitude: -4.4823 / 4°28'56"W

OS Eastings: 245950

OS Northings: 699590

OS Grid: NS459995

Mapcode National: GBR 0Q.HM09

Mapcode Global: WH3MM.3BTF

Entry Name: Duchray Valley, Valve House, Also Known As Basin House (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

Listing Date: 6 September 1979

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335382

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4154

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberfoyle

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Trossachs and Teith

Parish: Aberfoyle

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Aberfoyle

Description

Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority

John F Bateman, 1856. 1-bay, rectangular-plan, piend-roofed Italianate valve house with overhanging eaves on deep battered podium. Squared, snecked whinstone rubble with stugged sandstone ashlar dressings; random whinstone rubble podium. Base course. Prominent long and short quoins and window margins. Bipartite window to front; door to rear; single windows to sides. Stone steps to rear of podium.

INTERIOR: 19th century cast-iron operating mechanism.

Diamond-paned glazing in fixed iron windows. Central timber ridge vent. Graded grey Scottish slate.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with River Duchray Aqueduct Pipe Bridges.

The valve house is situated in a commanding and very prominent position, overlooking the Duchray Valley. The lie of the land here means that of the 3 syphon-piped sections on the course 1855 aqueduct, the engineering of the syphon system here is much clearly readable here and it is easy to discern the course of the pipes. The pipe bridge and valve house are not inter-visible, but are visible together from the S and have a clear working relationship.

The conduit of the water system is predominantly subterranean, but the valleys of Duchray, Endrick and Blane, which were too deep and broad for the use of normal aqueduct bridges, necessitated the use of syphon pipes to carry the water across them. The valve house is the point at which the water enters the syphon pipes. The pipes themselves represent a considerable technical achievement, using newly-developed vertical casting technologies. The scheme was originally opened with only 1 pipe, but designed to carry three and the two later ones were installed in the 1860s and 1880s. All three valve houses on the 1855 scheme were built to roughly the same design, although, due to the inaccessible nature of the site, the stone eaves console brackets were omitted from this one; it is also the only one of the three to retain its piended roof.

The Glasgow Corporation Water Works system, which brings water down to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, was admired internationally as an engineering marvel when it was opened in 1860. It was one of the most ambitious civil engineering schemes to have been undertaken in Europe since Antiquity, employing the most advanced surveying and construction techniques available, including the use of machine moulding and vertical casting technologies to produce the cast-iron pipes. The scheme represents the golden age of municipal activity in Scotland and not only provided Glasgow with fresh drinking water, thereby paving the way for a significant increase in hygiene and living standards, but also a source of hydraulic power that was indispensable to the growth of Glasgow's industry as a cheap and clean means of lifting and moving heavy plant in docks, shipyards and warehouses. The civic pride in this achievement is visible in every structure connected with the scheme, from the neatly-detailed gates and railings along its route, to the massive masonry structures and iron troughs that carry the conduit and, in most cases, have withstood without failure or noticeable deterioration the daily pressure of many millions of gallons of water for well over 100 years.

Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Stewart (1810-66) was the driving force behind the implementation of a municipally-owned water scheme to provide clean water to Glasgow's rapidly increasing population. Loch Katrine was identified as a suitable supply and after some objections from various parties, an Act of Parliament authorising the scheme was passed in 1855. The scheme was built in two main phases following this Act and another 1885. The 1855 scheme, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and was fully operational by 1860, had been designed to allow for significant expansion as demand increased, and this work was carried in the 20 years following the opening. The 1885 Act allowed a second aqueduct to be built, which followed a slightly shorter course than the earlier scheme. The capacity of the second aqueduct was also expanded during the first half of the 20th century.

John Frederick Bateman (1810-1889) was chosen as the engineer for the scheme and construction work commenced in 1856. Bateman was to become one of the world's most eminent water engineers, and worked on a number of other water supply schemes in Britain, Europe and Asia. He was assisted by James Morrison Gale (1830-1905), who on the completion of the initial scheme in 1859 was appointed Water Engineer for the City of Glasgow, a post he held till 1902. Gale was responsible for over-seeing the incremental expansion of the first scheme during the 1860s and '70s and the building of the second aqueduct from 1885 onwards.

Upgraded C(S) to B in 2008 following the thematic review of Loch Katrine water supply system.

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