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Latitude: 55.8877 / 55°53'15"N
Longitude: -4.6516 / 4°39'5"W
OS Eastings: 234260
OS Northings: 669238
OS Grid: NS342692
Mapcode National: GBR 38.25M2
Mapcode Global: WH2MR.J85S
Entry Name: Balrossie with Annex, Ornamental Outbuilding, Ancillary Building, Terraces, Steps, Gatepiers, Gates and Railings
Listing Date: 20 August 2004
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397684
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49972
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Inverclyde East
Traditional County: Renfrewshire
David Barclay, 1898-99. 2-storey, roughly rectangular, Scottish Renaissance orphanage with gothic details. Piended roof with prominent gabled section to centre. Stepped principal frontage with towers, gable, oriel window and buttresses; 2 single-storey service wings extending from rear; bay windows to side elevations. Roughcast render over whinstone rubble with painted red sandstone ashlar dressings. Base course; deep bracketed eaves. Raised long and short quoins and window margins; predominantly stone-mullioned bipartite windows.
EAST (PRINCIPLE) ELEVATION: entrance lobby to right of centre with round turret behind; broad gable to centre with oriel window; 3-storey crenellated tower to left of gable with shouldered diagonal buttress; irregularly fenestrated sections flanking to each side; piend-roofed tower slightly advanced to outer left. Roll-moulded, depressed-arch doorpiece in gabled sandstone architrave with cartouche to tympanum; flanking shouldered buttresses; dormered, round-arched window above. Oriel window to 1st floor of gable with decorative carved corbels, shouldered supporting buttress, sidelights, and traceried semicircular window above; ball finial to gable.
NORTH AND SOUTH ELEVATIONS: irregularly fenestrated, 3-bay elevations. 2-storey canted window to left bay of South elevation. Single-storey rectangular bay window diagonally set across NE corner.
WEST (REAR) ELEVATION: gable to centre with tripartite window at 1st floor; fairly regular fenestration to bays. 2 long single storey service ranges extending to W.
INTERIOR: access not possible.
Timber sash and case windows: plate glass glazing to front; small-pane glazing to rear. Graded grey slate. Ashlar-coped skews. Cast-iron rainwater goods with rectangular hoppers.
ANNEX: formerly accommodation for girls (see Notes). 2-storey and attic, 3-bay villa with advanced gable to E (front), gothic porch to re-entrant angle, large gabled dormers, transomed and mullioned staircase window and swept-roof playshed to W. Rendered whinstone with painted red sandstone dressings. Base course. Raised long and short quoins, window and door margins. E elevation: advanced gable to left with canted bay window at ground; gothic porch to right with swept roof, timber fretwork and sandstone columns; 4 steps to door. Slightly advanced tripartite window to right inscribed 'The Gift of H[?] 1899' (see Notes); 2 large gabled bipartite dormers above. Tripartite window at ground to S elevation. Swept-roof playshed to rear supported on cast-iron columns. 20th century addition to N.
Timber sash and case windows (boarded up). Corniced red brick stacks with short red clay cans. Plain bargeboards; deep bracketed eaves. Graded grey slate with red terracotta ridge tiles and gable finials. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
ORNAMENTAL OUTBUILDING: small, square-plan, flat-roofed outbuilding forming focal point in garden. Rendered brick with painted red sandstone dressings. Deep, battered base course; coped wallhead (see Notes); rusticated long and short quoins and window margins; central windows to side and rear elevations. Studded timber-boarded door with strap hinges in deep round-arched, roll-moulded architrave; panel above containing cartouche inscribed 'The Gift of H[?] 1899'. 4 steps to door.
ANCILLARY BUILDING: to W of main building. 2-storey, 4-bay ancillary block with dormers to E elevation. Rendered brick with painted brick dressings.
STEPS AND TERRACES: garden terraces with sandstone steps W of main building.
GATES, GATEPIERS, BOUNDARY WALLS AND RAILINGS: corniced, cylindrical gatepiers terminating coped and rendered boundary wall; 2-leaf cast-iron gates. Iron railings forming boundary elsewhere.
Built as an orphanage by the Sailors' Orphans Society of Scotland. This was the first orphanage to be built by the society, and previous to its completion the society had housed its orphans in rented accommodation. Money for the building was donated by 'several donors', including one anonymous benefactor who gave £3500: the deliberately obscure inscriptions on the Girls' Villa and garden building are probably the monogram of this person. The architect of the building is given in the Glasgow Advertiser article as H and D Barclay, but as Hugh Barclay died in 1892, this is probably the sole work of his younger brother David. The Barclay brothers specialised in school design, and were responsible for a large number of schools in and around Glasgow, including Glasgow Academy; their most prominent building, however, was Greenock Municipal Buildings.
The orphanage was designed to house 82 boys and 32 girls. The principle building contained accommodation for 50 boys in the left wing and 32 boys in the right wing, each wing forming a separate house with its own dormitories, dining room, playshed and other accommodation. The central tower contained administrative offices, with stores on the ground floor and a water tank at the top. The large gabled section that runs through the centre of the block contained a large hall for assemblies, services, teaching, and other similar activities. Girls were housed separately in the villa to the North of the main building. The exact purpose of the ornamental square building in the garden is unknown. It appears from the stonework that the roof of this building has been raised at some point.
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