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Culzean Castle Estate, Bathing Complex, Including Bath House, Round House and Plunge Pool

A Category A Listed Building in Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.3535 / 55°21'12"N

Longitude: -4.7932 / 4°47'35"W

OS Eastings: 223013

OS Northings: 610158

OS Grid: NS230101

Mapcode National: GBR 43.4SQ3

Mapcode Global: WH2Q6.BPRT

Entry Name: Culzean Castle Estate, Bathing Complex, Including Bath House, Round House and Plunge Pool

Listing Date: 14 April 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 339555

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB7609

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkoswald

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Girvan and South Carrick

Parish: Kirkoswald

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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1816. Classical bathing complex consisting of bath house, changing room (round house) and outdoor plunge pool, located on shore beneath cliffs.

BATH HOUSE (NS 23013 10158): single storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, rustic style former bath house. Walls of hungry-jointed random boulder rubble. Roof concealed behind irregular parapet. W ELEVATION: arched window apertures, bipartite to left and single to centre and right. E ELEVATION: 2 arched windows and 2 arched doorways. N ELEVATION: blind. S ELEVATION: abutting outcrop of natural rock. Window apertures fitted with timber louvers. Vertically boarded timber doors with fanlights. INTERIOR (seen 2010): single chamber with undressed rubble walls and concrete floor. Timber rafters. Apsidal niche to S gable, and stepped podium to N of chamber.

ROUND HOUSE (NS 23006 10167): single storey, circular-plan, astylar classical cylindrical structure (former changing room) with domed roof with ball finial, now disused. Doors to W and S, window to E. Rubble construction with ashlar dressings and ashlar dome. 2 doors of vertically boarded timber and 1 12-pane sash and case window. INTERIOR (seen 2010): limewashed ashlar to walls and ceiling. Flagstone floor.

PLUNGE POOL (NS 23001 10188): rectangular pool carved into natural rock. Ashlar lined and secured with metal cramps.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.

An important, complete and extremely rare survival, the bathing complex reflects both the Regency fashion for sea bathing and the Picturesque taste in architectural execution. The changing room emulates a Roman Mausoleum while the Bath House is like a rustic hermitage. The ensemble was one of the numerous works undertaken at Culzean by Archibald Kennedy (1770-1846), the 12th Earl of Cassillis, later 1st Marquess of Ailsa, and replaced an earlier bath house near the castle. The Bath House, which is currently used as a store for South Ayrshire Council's Outdoor Centre, retains little of its internal features although there is a niche that formerly housed the heating apparatus in the S wall, while the plinth at the N end contains the pool, now filled-in with concrete. Pipes discovered beneath the surface of the beach indicate that the outdoor plunge pool also benefitted from a heated water supply.

Together with the remarkable ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle ' now a scheduled monument ' were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.

The bath house and the round house (previously described as circular structure of uncertain purpose) were previously individually listed at Category B.

Category changed to A and listing revised as part of the Culzean Estate Review 2010-11.

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