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Victoria Villa, 41 Laigh Road, Beith

A Category B Listed Building in Beith, North Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.7542 / 55°45'15"N

Longitude: -4.6332 / 4°37'59"W

OS Eastings: 234847

OS Northings: 654344

OS Grid: NS348543

Mapcode National: GBR 39.BHST

Mapcode Global: WH2NB.SMXM

Plus Code: 9C7QQ938+MP

Entry Name: Victoria Villa, 41 Laigh Road, Beith

Listing Name: 41 Laigh Road and 43 Woodside Road Victoria Villa, Including Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 31 March 2004

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397342

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49739

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Beith

County: North Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Kilbirnie and Beith

Parish: Beith

Traditional County: Ayrshire

Tagged with: Villa

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1874 (dated), built for Matthew Pollock (see Notes); subdivided 1982. 2-storey 3-bay L-plan villa with Baronial details and elaborate bargeboarding to gabled façade; overhanging, bracketed eaves. Stugged, squared and snecked grey sandstone; polished ashlar dressings; string course between ground and 1st floor; 'MP' carved on plaque above door; stepped hoodmould over plaque carved '1874' above 1st floor window.

E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central door in roll-moulded surround with timber panelled outer door and letterbox fanlight; tripartite window to L; quadripartite canted bay to R with cast-iron brattishing. 1st floor windows gabled breaking eaves; central window; bipartite window to L, tripartite to R in advanced gabled bay.

W (REAR) ELEVATION: 2 gabled bays with tall central stair window; flanking pairs of 1st floor windows; single and 1 ½ storey and basement service range at right angles to R.

Timber plate glass sash and case windows (with later secondary glazing). Grey slates laid in diminishing courses; 4 corniced gable stacks with octagonal clay cans; tall stack with cans to service range. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: good original woodwork and plasterwork. Roll-moulded timber architraves to doors and windows; panelled shutters; panelled part-glazed inner door with brass doorplate; timber balustrade to scale and platt stair with Gothic fretwork; margin-paned leaded glass stair window; elaborate cornicing and ceiling roses to ground floor. Original chimneypieces replaced with salvaged early 20th century models; 1 original mahogany chimneypiece (see Notes) in former morning room with paired engaged columns supporting entablature with panelled frieze, panelled overmantel (flame mahogany to panels). Original fitted part glazed cupboards to morning room and drawing room.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: tall, coped random rubble wall bounding site; square piers to Woodside Road with centrally-raised caps; shaped, square piers to Laigh Road with pyramidal caps and ball finials (gates and railings late 20th century).

Statement of Interest

Victoria Villa was built for Matthew Pollock, owner of one of the highly successful cabinet making firms in the town. Above the entrance to the villa are Pollock's initials carved in the stone. The Caledonia Cabinet works (adjacent to the villa, since demolished) was one of three principal operations (including Balfour Ltd and Stevenson, Higgins & Co.) producing fine quality cabinet work in Beith the 19th century. Indeed, Beith was renowned worldwide for its cabinetwork during the period beginning in the mid 19th century and lasting until the mid 20th. Matthew Pollock and his brother John initially opened the Victoria Cabinet Works in the town but after a disagreement went their separate ways in business.

Matthew Pollock's house was adjacent to his work place enabling him to keep a close eye on developments. Pollock was one of the pioneers of the modern factory system in the town and was concerned with utilising labour saving machinery, division of labour and initially locating next to the rail link for access to markets and raw materials in Glasgow and the coastal towns to the west. One of Pollock's main competitors in Beith was Robert Balfour who rebuilt Mains Hamilton (now The Meadows separately listed) in exuberant Baronial style.

The interior of Victoria Villa was fitted out by Pollock's cabinet works and the original drawing room chimneypiece consisted of a mirrored overmantel between the fitted recessed cabinets on either side. There was also timber panelling to dado height complementing the panelled doors with their roll-moulded architraves. Firms such as the Pollocks' not only produced domestic furniture but also specialised in fitting out hotels, ships, boardrooms, etc. with panelling, staircases and the required items of furniture. When Victoria Villa was carefully subdivided into two dwellings, the interior fitments remained intact. However, following this, the drawing room chimneypiece and panelled dado were removed. The fine quality of the timber in the one surviving chimneypiece, with its expensive flame mahogany veneer, gives a good impression of the standard of craftsmanship available in the company.

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