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Culzean Castle Estate, Water House, Filter House and Fire Pond

A Category C Listed Building in Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.3502 / 55°21'0"N

Longitude: -4.7883 / 4°47'18"W

OS Eastings: 223307

OS Northings: 609777

OS Grid: NS233097

Mapcode National: GBR 43.51R3

Mapcode Global: WH2Q6.FS2C

Entry Name: Culzean Castle Estate, Water House, Filter House and Fire Pond

Listing Date: 14 April 1971

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398132

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB7613

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkoswald

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Girvan and South Carrick

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

WATER HOUSE (NS 23305 09785): earlier 19th century. Single storey, rectangular-plan, well head forming part of estate water works, with rectangular aperture on right of N elevation. Other elevations blind. Droved ashlar construction. Located amongst issues in hillside marsh. Undressed domed roof of rubble construction, with protruding ashlar cube with metal cap. INTERIOR (seen 2010): single ashlar-lined chamber.

FILTER HOUSE (NS 23625 09825): dated 1888. Sunken rectangular tank (with no side walls or roof) flanked on N and S by pair of triangular gable walls, each with rectangular aperture secured with barred metal gate. Date carved in relief in panel to N gable. Waterworks, now disused. Hammer-dressed pink sandstone line. Tank lined with white glazed bricks.

FIRE POND (NS 23606 09938): earlier 19th century. Irregular semi-circular man-made pond. Ashlar-lined inlet channel, with timber sluice gate, to SW.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.

The water works at Culzean were a significant element in the life and work of the estate and are important ancillary structures. The complex system, centred on the natural water supply rising between Hillhead and Happy Valley, will have included an unrecorded network of underground pipes and channels. Although the water house is absent from 19th century OS maps, a tank, or cistern, to the immediate SE, but no longer visible, is recorded. It is also beside a ditch that drains into the Swinston Ponds. The water treatment system at Culzean probably evolved over time to supply a variety of needs. These must have included horticultural uses at the Walled Garden, and for the 'aquaria' installed in the glasshouses there, as part of a pioneering fish rearing enterprise, begun in 1875. Ponds at Swinston were then used for rearing the fry prior to release into the wild. The Castle and other buildings to the north of Happy Valley also required a good head of fresh water. The Fire Pond, a safety reservoir for fire fighting, appears in the 1st Edition OS map of 1854-9, but without designation. It later supplied the ornamental fountain installed in the castle garden for the 3rd Marquess of Ailsa in 1877. It also appears to be linked to the filter house, which presumably provided a cleaner supply to the castle. It was capable of holding 16,000 gallons of water and believed to have supplied the Castle, Orangery and Fountain. Presumably it was unroofed when it became redundant with the advent of the county mains supply.

Together with the outstanding ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle (a scheduled monument) were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.

The Water House was previously individually listed at Category B as 'Well-Head, Happy Valley'. List description revised and changed to Category C(S) as part of the Clzean Castle Estate Review 2010-11.

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