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Signal Box, Auldbar Road Station

A Category C Listed Building in Aberlemno, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6479 / 56°38'52"N

Longitude: -2.7551 / 2°45'18"W

OS Eastings: 353791

OS Northings: 750933

OS Grid: NO537509

Mapcode National: GBR VQ.T617

Mapcode Global: WH7QN.N57G

Plus Code: 9C8VJ6XV+5W

Entry Name: Signal Box, Auldbar Road Station

Listing Name: Auldbar Road, Balgavies, (Former Station House) Including Stable, Signal Box, Platform, External Staircase, Railings and Retaining Wall

Listing Date: 18 July 2002

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396162

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48696

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberlemno

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim

Parish: Aberlemno

Traditional County: Angus

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1841. Two-storey (single storey to Auldbar Road), three-bay, rectangular-plan, symmetrical former station house with additional pavilion wing to north. Squared and snecked random rubble yellow sandstone with ashlar quoins and margins. Tall rectangular windows with raised margins and projecting cills.

South (principal) elevation: two-storey, symmetrical regular fenestration except ground floor widow to left slightly raised due to external staircase. Door at centre with astragal glazed part and astragal fanlight

East (Auldbar Road) elevation: single storey, three-bay. symmetrical, regular fenestration. Timber panelled door with letterbox fanlight at centre.

North elevation: gable end with full width, single storey lean-to office wing.

West (rear) elevation: 2-storey, 3 slightly asymmetrical bays with door to centre, smaller window above, low stone built lean-to to outer left. Gabled bay to left with advanced 2-storey triangular canted bay to centre with slated swept roof.

12-pane, timber frame sash and case windows. Coped skews and chimney stacks on gable ends. Grey slates, lead flashing.

Interior (seen 2002): timber architectural margins and shutters to ground floor windows. Boarded timber doors to ground floor, flagstoned hall with flagstone shelving to press.

Stable: (Map Ref: NO 53779, 50960): pyramidal capped gatepier abutting pavilion wing to north marks opening to walled stable yard.

Signal Box: (Map Ref: NO 53791, 50933) Caledonian Railway, Type 1, from around 1876. Two-storey, rectangular-plan signal box. Red brick with yellow brick quoins. Glazed upper storey to three sides facing track bed, tripartite fixed nine-pane windows with timber mullions. Boarded timber door to west upper storey, projecting flue to east. Piended roof with overhanging eaves and projecting rafters. Grey slates, lead flashing. Interior (seen 2012): boarded floor to upper level (converted to sun room (around 1990) retaining original fireplace. Signal lever frame and machinery removed.

Platform: low, coped random rubble retaining wall. Paved with stone steps leading down to track bed immediately adjacent to the house.

External Staircase, Railings and Retaining Wall: steep flight of stone steps with cast-iron railings built upon a random rubble retaining wall leading from the road to the platform flanking the principal elevation.

Statement of Interest

This small group of buildings at Auldbar Road, including a former station house and signal box, are a good, early former station group.

A distinctive feature of the former station house is its two-level plan form. The principal elevation, was built to front the platform rather than the road, as shown by the level of architectural features and worked stonework on this elevation. It is two storeys, three bays wide and symmetrical and has good architectural details including raised ashlar window margins and a door with a multipane fanlight.

The impression of the building from Auldbar Road is of a traditional single storey, three-bay cottage as the lower floor is concealed by the earthwork ramp leading up to the bridge. The rear elevation originally looked onto the station yard and this is now a private garden

The Arbroath and Forfar line opened on 4 December 1838 and it is understood that the house was built in 1841. A building in its location is not shown on Thomson's Atlas of Scotland of 1825. It is a notably early example of a railway related building in the area.

The signal box at Auldbar Road is a good example of the earliest Caledonian Railway Company's signal boxes, the Type 1 (Northern Division). In contrast with the Caledonian's Southern Division boxes later in the 1800s, which are more decorative in appearance, the Type 1 box is simple in design with no windows to the brick base/locking room. Currently in use as a sun room, the Auldbar Road box retains its original form, profile and window pattern. The Caledonian Type 1 signal box at Errol is also listed (see separate listing, LB11603).

Signal boxes are a distinctive and now rare building type that make a significant contribution to Scotland's diverse industrial heritage. Of more than 2000 signal boxes built across Scotland by 1948, around 150 currently survive (2013), both on and off the public network. All pre-1948 mechanical boxes still in operation are due to become obsolete by 2021.

The house has further local social interest. Mid-19th century newspaper accounts, indicate the property was owned by the railway company and was used as an inn, and around 1859 to 1864 was used as a private school, funded by Miss Baxter of nearby Balgavies estate (it is marked as a school on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, surveyed 1860 and published 1863). The Baxter family were noted philanthropists, particularly interested in education, founding the University College and Technical Institute, both in Dundee and a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh, as well as gifting land for Baxter Park in Dundee.

List description updated as part of Scottish Signal Box Review (2012-13). Listed building record updated in 2020.

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