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Loch Arklet Aqueduct Intake Including Railings, Gates and Walls (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

A Category B Listed Building in Trossachs and Teith, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.2507 / 56°15'2"N

Longitude: -4.5923 / 4°35'32"W

OS Eastings: 239484

OS Northings: 709483

OS Grid: NN394094

Mapcode National: GBR 0L.B09P

Mapcode Global: WH3M5.F5D0

Entry Name: Loch Arklet Aqueduct Intake Including Railings, Gates and Walls (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

Listing Date: 4 May 2006

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398276

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50297

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberfoyle

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Trossachs and Teith

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Description

Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority

James M Gale and J R Sutherland, 1910-15. Curved, closed U-plan masonry structure projecting into Loch Arklet. External wall of large, coursed, bull-faced masonry (or concrete) blocks below water level; series of low segmental red sandstone arches above water level surmounted by band course and parapet. 2 projecting buttress sections to each side and flanking sluice entrance. Coped sandstone ashlar boundary wall forming large enclosure on land side with central cast-iron foot gate.

INTERIOR: deep semicircular basin with steep stepped side walls to N, S and W, surmounted by low segmental arches carrying broad, paved footway. Two square-headed sluice openings at bottom of W wall; round-arched exit channel to E with prominent voussoirs, heavy pilaster buttresses and shallow pediment. Cast-iron railings surrounding basin; sluice mechanism at W end.

Statement of Interest

Located on a rocky promontory at the centre of the E end of Loch Arklet.

When seen from the loch, this appears to be a very unassuming structure, lying low to the water. It is only when the inner basin is seen from inside the enclosure (or from the air) that the magnificence and strength of the engineering here can be appreciated. The basin has the appearance of a deep, steep, amphitheatre and the water level is much lower than the level of the loch. The power of the water as it passes through the basin is truly spectacular and the continued crispness of the masonry is a testament to the quality of the workmanship. Although water usually enters the basin via the sluices, it can also enter through the arches if the water level of the Loch is high enough.

The Glasgow Corporation Water Works system, which brings water down to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, was admired internationally as an engineering marvel when it was opened in 1860. It was one of the most ambitious civil engineering schemes to have been undertaken in Europe since Antiquity, employing the most advanced surveying and construction techniques available. The scheme represents the golden age of municipal activity in Scotland and not only provided Glasgow with fresh drinking water, thereby paving the way for a significant increase in hygiene and living standards, but also a source of hydraulic power that was indispensable to the growth of Glasgow's industry as a cheap and clean means of lifting and moving heavy plant in docks, shipyards and warehouses. The civic pride in this achievement is visible in every structure connected with the scheme, from the neatly-detailed gates and railings along its route, to the massive masonry structures and iron troughs that carry the conduit and, in most cases, have withstood without failure or noticeable deterioration the daily pressure of many millions of gallons of water for well over 100 years.

Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Stewart (1810-66) was the driving force behind the implementation of a municipally-owned water scheme to provide clean water to Glasgow's rapidly increasing population. Loch Katrine was identified as a suitable supply and after some objections from various parties, an Act of Parliament authorising the scheme was passed in 1855. The scheme was built in two main phases following this Act and another 1885. The 1855 scheme, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and was fully operational by 1860, had been designed to allow for significant expansion as demand increased, and this work was carried in the 20 years following the opening. The 1885 Act allowed a second aqueduct to be built, which followed a slightly shorter course than the earlier scheme. The capacity of the second aqueduct was also expanded during the first half of the 20th century.

The continued expansion of the scheme during the late 19th century meant that a larger supply of water was required to keep Loch Katrine topped-up. Loch Arklet was an obvious source of supply and James Gale, who had been Water Engineer to the City of Glasgow since the opening of the scheme in 1859, drew up plans to increase the capacity of the loch and create a connection to Loch Katrine. An Act of 1902 allowed the work to take place and it was carried out by Gale's successor, J R Sutherland from about 1910 onwards. The other structures connected with this scheme, the Loch Arklet dam and outlet to Loch Katrine are listed separately.

List description updated following the thematic review of Loch Katrine water supply system in 2008.

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