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The Meadows, Arran Crescent, Beith

A Category B Listed Building in Beith, North Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.7556 / 55°45'20"N

Longitude: -4.6297 / 4°37'46"W

OS Eastings: 235072

OS Northings: 654487

OS Grid: NS350544

Mapcode National: GBR 39.BJLT

Mapcode Global: WH2NB.VLKK

Plus Code: 9C7QQ94C+64

Entry Name: The Meadows, Arran Crescent, Beith

Listing Name: Arran Crescent, the Meadows, Including Meadows Cottage (Former Service Wing)

Listing Date: 31 March 2004

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397329

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49725

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Beith

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Kilbirnie and Beith

Parish: Beith

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Circa 1880; subdivided 1976. Large Baronial villa with French Renaissance-style tower; gabletted crowstepped gables with mace-shaped finials; crowstepped hoodmoulds, square panels within; windows with chamfered margins. 3 gabled bays to 2 storey and attic principal house; single storey and attic former service wing and single storey coachhouse to S. Base course; crenellated parapets to bay windows; string course between ground and 1st floor. Coursed, stugged sandstone to W elevation; cherry-caulked whinstone with sandstone margins to E; Aberdeen bonded sandstone to N elevation; service wing coursed sandstone, former coachhouse random rubble.

E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: steps to central crenellated porch; timber panelled outer door, windows in returns; canted bay to R, slightly advanced tripartite bay to L ; 3 windows to 1st floor; triangular-headed attic windows, that to centre in corbelled wallhead dormer. 2-bay service wing to L with bipartite to R, wallhead dormer above; advanced gabled bay to L, window above. 5-bay coachhouse to outer L with segmental carriage arch (now glazed) to centre.

W (REAR) ELEVATION: central recessed bay with steps from window to garden, single 1st floor window above; attic gabletted window with square fishscale slated tower behind with cast-iron brattishing. Slightly advanced tripartite bay to ground and 1st floor R; canted bay to ground and 1st floor L. 2-bay service wing with tripartite window to R, wallhead dormer above; gabled bay to L with bipartite, window above; entrance porch in re-entrant angle of wing and coachhouse.

Timber sash and case plate glass windows; uPVC glazing to conversion. Grey slates; corniced ashlar gable stacks with moulded octagonal clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods with top hoppers.

INTERIOR: original eclectic decorative scheme in place. Large central hall with Jacobethan-style oak chimneypiece with overmantel supported by barley-twist columns; timber Renaissance style arcaded balustrade to dog leg stair with gallery to 1st floor; newel posts fitted with candelabra (now electric); strapwork ceiling with dentil cornice. Sitting room with classical mahogany chimneypiece with scrolled brackets; elaborate cornice. Dining room with adjacent servery. Decorated arch with low relief figurative medallions leading to1st floor drawing room with elaborate cornice and ceiling rose; classical style mahogany chimneypiece with tiled hearth. Attic billiard room with small timber chimneypiece at each end tiled with depictions of Aesop's fables and crafts scenes (plumber, shoemaker, dyer, barber, weaver, tailor and tanner); 3 small stained glass domed cupoli.

Statement of Interest

Built for Robert Balfour, cabinet manufacturer in Beith, and still known locally as 'Balfour's place'. Fairly typical in form of the later 19th century, the architectural significance of the house lies predominantly in its detailing and interior. Historically, the villa is recognised for its association with one of Beith's most successful cabinet works. It is most likely that the craftsmen from Balfour's furnished the interior with its high quality woodwork. The house is a fitting home for an industrialist and reflects his wealth and taste. Balfour built his factory next to the new Glasgow, Barrhead and Kilmarnock railway in the south of the town. During the late 19th century, Beith's principal cabinet makers were Balfour Ltd, Matthew and John Pollok, and Stevenson, Higgins & Co. Balfour's later became Beithcraft and operated until the mid 20th century.

A farmhouse is shown marked as Mains Hamilton on the OS map of 1856 together with an L-plan outbuilding, which may now form part of the former coachhouse. The farmhouse was demolished and the villa built on the site, perhaps utilising the existing whinstone. The subdivision of the house in 1976 separates the main accommodation from the service wing and in this way preserves the interior space well. The house was originally set in large grounds, now occupied by private housing, and the gatepiers to the former drive still exist on Roebank Road.

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