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Corehouse Conservatory and Flower Garden Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

A Category B Listed Building in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.6547 / 55°39'16"N

Longitude: -3.7815 / 3°46'53"W

OS Eastings: 288006

OS Northings: 641567

OS Grid: NS880415

Mapcode National: GBR 2311.3S

Mapcode Global: WH5SQ.W4HC

Entry Name: Corehouse Conservatory and Flower Garden Walls, Gatepiers and Gates

Listing Date: 16 September 2010

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400493

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51595

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lesmahagow

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Clydesdale North

Parish: Lesmahagow

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Circa 1827-30. Single storey, 5-bay, rectangular plan stone former conservatory within roughly rectangular-plan walled enclosure with rounded section at SE corner, rebuilt into an earlier structure. Conservatory bull-faced sandstone ashlar with polished dressings. Enclosing walls to W and S bull-faced masonry with ashlar cope and piers and squared and coursed rubble to N and E.

CONSERVATORY: now a roofless stone-framed shell, originally with pitched roof. Stepped angle buttresses, terminating in square section pinnacles with squat pyramidal capstones.

WALLS AND GATES: low, partly balustraded walls to S and S section of W wall with roll-top saddle-back moulded cope. Y-shaped balusters. Higher walls at N and E with rounded cope. Square-section gateposts and piers punctuating wall with cornice band and squat pyramidal capstones. Original 2-leaf cast-iron gate with Y-shaped spars and fleur de lys border.

Statement of Interest

This conservatory is a rare example of an early 19th century conservatory, significantly built of stone when most other stand alone conservatories of the period were of timber and/or iron. It is a significant component in the designed landscape at Corehouse. Corehouse estate is important because it is one of the small number of estates from which picturesque views of the spectacular scenery at the Corra Linn and Bonnington Linn Falls and of the village of New Lanark could be obtained. John Claudius Loudon visited Corehouse in 1841 and observed that the borrowed views were an important ingredient of the landscape experience. The landscape was designed with picturesque views in mind and the conservatory would appear to have been designed as one of a number of focal points in the landscape to be accessed through wooded walks.

The formal gardens seem to have been positioned and designed around two buildings, the dovecote to the S of the Corra Burn and the conservatory to the N of the burn. Both would appear to have been used for maximum picturesque effect. The Corra Burn descends just to the N into a small natural cascade. The flower gardens and associated buildings were part of the improvements begun by George Cranstoun, 1st Lord Corehouse (who had inherited the estate from the Edmonstoun family through the female line in about 1820).

Lord Corehouse sought advice in the improvement of his estate from his friend Sir Walter Scott and on the latter's recommendation, through written correspondence, he appointed Edward Blore of London as architect of the house (1824-27). When Scott visited Corehouse in 1827 he said 'like all new improvers Corehouse is at more expense than is necessary, plants too thick and trenches where trenching is superfluous. But this is the eagerness of the young artist'. He did not identify the designer but it would seem from his comments that Lord Corehouse may have been partly responsible for designing some of the improvements of his estate. It has been suggested that Scott's own architect William Atkinson may have been involved in the landscaping. We know that Scott recommended Edwin Landseer to Lord Corehouse for the landscape; however Landseer's older brother Charles, also a painter, and Keeper of the Royal Academy, may have been employed in his place. There is no known documentary evidence that links either to the garden buildings.

There are similarities in detail between the house and the conservatory: the use of buff-coloured bull-faced masonry, the 'Y' shaped detailing of the balusters and the stepped capstones are all found at the house. However they are not exactly the same, suggesting the designer had an awareness of the Corehouse design and paid deference to it but, at the same time introducing new elements.

Other elements of the Corehouse designed landscape also listed are the Dovecot, the Mausoleum, the Stable Court and the Stove House (see separate listings).

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