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Blair Castle (Carlow Convalescent Home for Miners)

A Category A Listed Building in Culross, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0545 / 56°3'16"N

Longitude: -3.6576 / 3°39'27"W

OS Eastings: 296863

OS Northings: 685862

OS Grid: NS968858

Mapcode National: GBR 1Q.QD8L

Mapcode Global: WH5QV.S2GX

Entry Name: Blair Castle (Carlow Convalescent Home for Miners)

Listing Date: 20 June 1972

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 393726

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46425

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Culross

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Parish: Culross

Traditional County: Fife

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Culross

Description

Circa 1800-1830, substantial, 3-storey, square-plan, symmetrical country house/villa, in the late classical style of Robert Adam (see NOTES), altered slightly, and with additions made presumably circa 1927 at the time of its foundation as a miners' welfare home.

Main house block: 3 bays to each elevation. Grey sandstone ashlar; rusticated ground floor, taller principal/1st floor, shorter upper/2nd floor; base course, band courses dividing floors and eaves band. Timber sash and case windows throughout, replaced at ground and principal/1st floors with plate glass glazing pattern to S (partially 12-paned to subsidiary elevations), 12-paned sashes to upper/2nd floor. Shallow slated piend roof; ashlar cross-wall stacks. Single-storey, flat-roofed wings flanking, additions of circa 1927 period, masking (further recessed, and extending further out to either side) original single-storey, piend roofed wings, that to right (E) still apparent, with over-arched centre bay framing central window on S elevation, and stepped blocking course at eaves over arch. Symmetrical wing to left (W) submerged behind later single-storey flat-roofed circa 1927 additions, which extend further to W, attached to 2-storey flat-roofed block (see NOTES).

Tripartite PRINCIPAL (S) ELEVATION, central, full-height, pedimented bay slightly in advance of single-window side bays. Central bay with di-style Doric PORCH (see NOTES) at ground, tri-partite window set in segmentally-arched opening at principal/1st floor; tripartite at upper/2nd floor. 1st/2nd floors clasped by giant paired Ionic pilaster order supporting frieze blocks with simplified rosette detail below eaves/wallhead pediment; shallow rectangular recess in pediment head. Paired stacks framing pediment behind.

4 piend-roofed blocks of rear wings to N. Circa 1927 chimney addition rising on exterior of W elevation, and high above wallhead.

INTERIOR: Corinthian columned screen in entrance vestibule, columns with distinctively detailed circular abaci. Top-lit half-turn stair with landings, with decorative cast-iron balustrade. Principal rooms with decorative plasterwork ceilings and cornices, and some contemporary chimneypieces and slips. ?Drawing room with fielded panelling over dado skirting panelling, Corinthianesque pilasters framing buffet recess, with garland-detail decorative frieze, simple cornice, plain ceiling, and polished black marble chimney-piece.

Statement of Interest

Built to supersede an older castle of the same name.

In use since 1927 as National Coal Board Convalescent Home.

Stylistically, Blair follows closely Robert Adam's 1780's and 1790's designs for Newliston and Jerviston Houses (circa 1789 and 1782), although, in terms of architectural detail it falls short of Adam's standards. The unknown architect of Blair Castle may therefore have worked to a Robert Adam design, not executed in the event by Adam himself; or else, he has been able to imitate, with some success, Adam's fashionable idiom. Richard Crichton would have been capable of such quality work.

The porch's relationship with the building as a whole seems slightly awkward, and might be an addition, or else a symptom of the slight awkwardness in detail, referred to above.

Proposals currently exist to add a pitched roof to the 2-storey circa 1927 block to the W (1993)

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