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Meadhonach Burn Aqueduct Bridge Including Ventilation Shafts (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

A Category C Listed Building in Trossachs and Teith, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.164 / 56°9'50"N

Longitude: -4.5144 / 4°30'51"W

OS Eastings: 243961

OS Northings: 699664

OS Grid: NS439996

Mapcode National: GBR 0N.HRSF

Mapcode Global: WH3ML.MBHF

Entry Name: Meadhonach Burn Aqueduct Bridge Including Ventilation Shafts (Former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)

Listing Date: 4 May 2006

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398477

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50449

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Buchanan

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Trossachs and Teith

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

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Description

Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority

James M Gale, 1887. Single-span, segmental-arched aqueduct bridge with deep parapet wall containing conduit and large pyramidal-capped end piers. Mass concrete faced with snecked, coursed Ben Cruachan granite. String course, coped parapet. Tubular cast-iron railings to parapet with ornamental flower motifs to heads of uprights. Early 20th century concrete cover.

VENTILATION SHAFTS AND ACCESS CHAMBERS: circular snecked, bull-faced granite enclosures at each end of aqueduct with access gate and domed wrought-iron 'birdcage' top; projecting cope. Stone steps, retaining wall and railings to associated subterranean chambers. Security covers added 2007.

Statement of Interest

One of 5 masonry aqueduct bridges built as part of the second phase of the Glasgow Corporation Water Works system (see below for history and significance of the scheme as a whole) from 1885 onwards. This and another identical bridge at Tom-an-Eas (a short distance to the N) are listed as the best representative examples of this group. All the 1885 aqueduct bridges are very similar and these two were selected as the only examples with associated access chambers at both ends.

Unlike the conduit on the course of the first phase of the scheme (built 1855 onwards), the second phase has a greater length of tunnel, this being possible because the invention of gelignite and pneumatic drills in the intervening period, made tunnel construction much less labour-intensive. For this reason the number of aqueduct bridges on the 1885 conduit is significantly less than on the 1855 conduit.

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.

John Frederick Bateman (1810-1889) was chosen as the engineer for the scheme and construction work commenced in 1856. Bateman was to become one of the world's most eminent water engineers, and worked on a number of other water supply schemes in Britain, Europe and Asia. He was assisted by James Morrison Gale (1830-1905), who on the completion of the initial scheme in 1859 was appointed Water Engineer for the City of Glasgow, a post he held till 1902. Gale was responsible for over-seeing the incremental expansion of the first scheme during the 1860s and '70s and the building of the second aqueduct from 1885 onwards.

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

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