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Swimming Pool, The Glen

A Category B Listed Building in Traquair, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.5862 / 55°35'10"N

Longitude: -3.1159 / 3°6'57"W

OS Eastings: 329756

OS Northings: 633070

OS Grid: NT297330

Mapcode National: GBR 63PV.6B

Mapcode Global: WH6VD.3VHF

Plus Code: 9C7RHVPM+FJ

Entry Name: Swimming Pool, The Glen

Listing Name: The Glen, Swimming Pool and Terrace

Listing Date: 12 August 2003

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396904

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49394

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Traquair

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Parish: Traquair

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

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Circa 1854, late 19th / early 20th century alterations with mid 20th century change of use. Scottish Baronial, L-plan wall with ball finialled arching arm, angle turret to N and pair of canted adjoining single storey, square-plan changing rooms to W with crow-stepped pediment, terrace wall to SE; all surrounding teardrop-shaped swimming pool with circular plunge pool. Harled walls with plain ashlar coping and ball finials on stalks; similarly styled changing rooms with chamfered ashlar dressings; ashlar conical tower with moulded eaves course.

SW (POOL) ELEVATION: harled wing wall with turfed copes, small entrance to left leading to path with tall statue of kilted Highlander to left. Paved area (with flowerbeds) surrounding teardrop shaped pool with circular plunge pool to N (SE wall divided into 3 separate blocks): royal and pale blue mosaic tiled band to interior below flat overhanging coping; to exterior, harled ashlar walls with stepped entrance to left.

NW ELEVATION: to left, changing rooms: pair of angled walls with timber boarded door in each (studded with large decorative hinges) rising into crowstepped central pediment with large thistle finial surmounting, ball finials to outer angles of walls; to left return, changing room with paired windows; right return concealed by ball finialled wall terminating in conical Lorimeresque angle tower: door to front and rear with slit window overlooking flight of ashlar steps to rear of adjacent coach house.

NE (REAR/STABLE YARD) ELEVATION, SW FACE: very high wall (incorporating rear wall of former glasshouse range) with crowstepped gable end of coach house in built to left (with small window to left and adjoining angle tower to far left), rest of wall blind with steps to right leading to door in return of stable clock pend (with gabled dormer to right).

SE ELEVATION: small harled terrace wall with flat stone copes (overlooking Lion gates to garden).

Later 20th century plate glass glazing in timber frames to changing rooms; glazed slit window to N of tower. Conical fish-scale slate roof to tower terminating in spiked lead finial (no rainwater goods); flat-roof to changing rooms.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-Group with all other Glen estate buildings. The Glen estate can be traced as far back as 1296 when Sarra of the Glen swore allegiance to King Edward I of England. The estate remained in the family's hand until around 1512, when the grounds became fragmented and parts were sold to neighbouring landowners and families. By the 1700's, there were 2 main parts of the estate, Easter and Wester Glen. Easter Glen was sold to Alexander Allan (an Edinburgh banker) in 1796 for #10,500. At this point, the house was a fairly small plain farmhouse. His son, William Allan (Lord Provost of Edinburgh) was responsible for enlarging and extending the house, the architect being his friend William Playfair (see The Temple, listed separately); even after improvement it was still not regarded as being fit for a landowner's principal residence. The 3.500-acre estate was bought in 1852/3 by Sir Charles Tennant, owner of the chemical works of St. Rollox, Glasgow, for #33,140. The house was by then outdated and not suited to modern family life; he commissioned David Bryce to design a baronial style house, to which a tower (also by Bryce) was added in 1874. Charles Tennant was a well-known patron of horticulture and the fine arts as well as a successful industrialist. He improved the estate landscape (1860-1890) and was responsible for the building of a school, farm, worker's and estate cottages, walled kitchen garden and kennels making the Glen virtually self-sufficient. Bryce designed some of the terraces whilst 2 landscape gardeners remained on hand and over saw the laying out of the terraces and planting. Robert Lorimer (who carried out internal remodelling after a fire in 1905) added more garden terraces and later redesigned part of the walled garden. These formal gardens were of extreme importance. Tennant had a reputation as a horticulturist and the swimming pool site was once a fine range of glasshouses. From the stable yard it is possible to see the heightened wallhead which once formed the back of the glasshouse range (which is now the rear wall of the pool complex). It had 3 sections, each with their own entrances and paths from the arched walk to the N of the garden terraces. It is likely they were heated from below (rooms can be accessed from the stable courtyard and this same principle may have been used once to heat the pool). Much later the area became known as "the Children's Garden"; this must have occurred toward the middle of the 20th century as the glasshouses were still in situ in the 1930's. By the 1950's, the garden was redesigned to form an outdoor swimming pool and it remains so today. Although partially much later, the area around the pool is treated in a similarly Scottish Baronial way to the stable court and main house. The pool has a deep teardrop shaped area with a smaller circular plunge pool to the N. The plunge pool was also for relaxing in, as its SE arc is subdivided into 3 separate sections, each capable of being used as a pool side table. The pool is surrounded by a paved area, which would have been used for seating. There are 2 small rooms to the W of the area and these were used as changing rooms. The conical tower is a link between the pool complex and the rear of the stables. A flight of stairs provides a short cut down to the stable courtyard and to the estate road. Facing S, the area would form a sun trap, with the higher walls protecting the bathers and sunbathers from any cool breezes that may come from a northerly direction. It also contains flowerbeds, which help to conceal its use from a distance, whilst maintaining a view of the main house (it is not overlooked by any other estate buildings which provided users with privacy). Although now derelict, it is listed for its interest and importance within an intact later 19th century estate (other estate buildings are listed separately).

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