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Furnace Village, Former Charcoal Store

A Category A Listed Building in Mid Argyll, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1526 / 56°9'9"N

Longitude: -5.1796 / 5°10'46"W

OS Eastings: 202605

OS Northings: 700099

OS Grid: NN026000

Mapcode National: GBR FDLG.27K

Mapcode Global: WH1K0.DMQ6

Entry Name: Furnace Village, Former Charcoal Store

Listing Date: 14 May 2004

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397478

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49844

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Inveraray

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Mid Argyll

Traditional County: Argyllshire

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Furnace

Description

Impressive mid 18th century, rectangular-plan, rubble former charcoal store built into slope to NE with later alterations. Built as part of an iron smelting works by Duddon & Co of Cumbria and converted to a Drill Hall in the 1880s. Large doorway to SW probably enlarged. 4 inserted window openings to NW and 2 to SE. Former loading door remains to NE. Gable ends remodeled to form shallow segmental-ended gables. Corrugated iron segmental-shaped roof.

Statement of Interest

The iron smelting works at Furnace (consisting of the blast furnace/casting-house/blowing-house - SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT, charcoal store and remains of an enclosure) document one of the largest and, at its peak in productivity, most successful charcoal iron establishments in the Scottish Highlands. The only other comparable example being at Bonawe - SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT. The store which stands to the NE of the nearby blast furnace is therefore recognized as an important and rare surviving industrial building, documenting the mid 18th century iron process in Scotland. In 1755 Duddon & Co. set about establishing the smelting works at what was then a farm steading known as Craleckin. The operating company thus became known as the Argyll Furnace Co, probably to differentiate itself from its parent company in Cumbria. The land was leased from the Duke of Argyll for an initial 57 year period. It is recorded that by 1779, 33 people were listed as being residents of Argyll Furnace - [RCAHMS]. Furnace was chosen as the ideal location by Duddon & Co as there was an abundance of nearby timber suitable for charcoal burning. However iron production on this site was short lived, production ceased in 1812 when the Argyll Furnace Co. quit. Although the Argyll Estate advertised a new lease, no offers were forthcoming, and the furnace never went into production again.

Being built into the slope enabled charcoal to be loaded into the store at ground level to the rear NE, and easily emptied from the front SW. At some point after the Argyll Furnace Co. quit, the store became un-roofed, as shown in the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (it is interesting to note at this time there was a small roofed outshot to the SE, it is unknown what this was).

It is recorded that in the 1880s the store was converted to a Drill Hall, it is probable that it was at this time the windows were inserted and the roofline was altered. This subsequent re-use as a Drill Hall is of good local interest. The store has latterly been used as coal store and workshop.

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