History in Structure

The Mains, Hill Street, Oban

A Category C Listed Building in Oban, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.4129 / 56°24'46"N

Longitude: -5.4695 / 5°28'10"W

OS Eastings: 186071

OS Northings: 729915

OS Grid: NM860299

Mapcode National: GBR DCWR.TQL

Mapcode Global: WH0GK.Y2NN

Plus Code: 9C8PCG7J+46

Entry Name: The Mains, Hill Street, Oban

Listing Name: Hill Street, the Mains with Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 16 May 1995

Last Amended: 12 December 2022

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 384332

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB38852

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200384332

Location: Oban

County: Argyll and Bute

Town: Oban

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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The Mains is a pair of late-19th century houses, probably built in the 1870s. The property comprises a three-storey, three bay house with a single-storey, three-bay cottage adjoining its east elevation at first floor level. An upper storey was added (likely early-20th century) and an extension added to the eastern gable of the cottage in the early-20th century. The property is set into the hillside and is located in a prominent position where Hill Street curves to meet Rockfield Road in Oban.

The principal (southwest) elevation has entrance openings in bays two and five, pedimented stone dormers breaking the roof eaves and timber bargeboards and eaves. The property is constructed in harl-pointed rubble with stugged and droved ashlar dressings. The two entrance doors are boarded, and the door to the three-storey section has a two-pane fanlight above.

The windows are predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case frames with projecting window cills throughout. There are two, small, square modern windows in the north (rear) elevation. Gabled dormerheads break the roof eaves to the front elevation. The roof is covered in grey slates with plain timber barge boards and roof eaves. There are cast iron gutters with downpipes between the bays. There are single apex chimneystacks to the east gables of the house and cottage and a shouldered, five-flue wallhead chimneystack in the centre of the north (rear) wall of the property. All have circular clay cans.

A rubble-coped and rubble-built boundary wall bounds the house to the south, following the curve of the road. There is an iron gate adjacent to the house and a single gatepier with a capstan finial to the right.

Statement of Interest

A characterful group which provides a striking composition within the curvature of Hill Street and Rockfield Road.

The Mains is a multiphase house whose construction and style is representative and characteristic of late-19th century residential design. By the mid-19th century, Oban was a fashionable resort to visit en route to the Western Isles and, following the arrival of the railway in 1880, there was a further increase in villa building and tourist amenities. The Buildings of Scotland notes that plots were feued and roads laid out on and around Oban Hill from the mid-19th century onwards (Walker, p.401).

The Mains is one of these early houses built sometime after 1870. No houses are shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1867-70, however a number are shown on the 2nd Edition map of 1898, including The Mains. The design of The Mains and its stylistic similarity to the adjacent former Rockfield Primary School, now the Rockfield Centre (listed at category B, LB38858) indicates a similar date of construction to that of the school, probably around 1873. The Mains has a picturesque setting which forms a good stylistic grouping with the surrounding contemporary villas and the former primary school.

Houses are not rare building types, however those that have good design quality and retain much of their historic character have interest in listing terms. The scale and orientation of The Mains indicate it was built to navigate the steep and rocky topography of the area and takes advantage of the views to the southwest and across Oban Bay to the west. The property is a good representative example of an urban house constructed in local materials and built during the town's late-19th century residential expansion.

Category of listing changed from B to C and listed building record revised in 2022.

External Links

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