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Falls of Clyde, Stonebyres Power Station with Tank and Pipes

A Category A Listed Building in Lanark, South Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6773 / 55°40'38"N

Longitude: -3.83 / 3°49'47"W

OS Eastings: 285020

OS Northings: 644158

OS Grid: NS850441

Mapcode National: GBR 12PS.MP

Mapcode Global: WH5SJ.4KGL

Entry Name: Falls of Clyde, Stonebyres Power Station with Tank and Pipes

Listing Date: 11 February 2011

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400633

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51719

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lanark

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Clydesdale South

Parish: Lanark

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

Sir Edward MacColl with advice from Amenity Committee consisting of the Earl of Home, Sir John Stirling Maxwell of Pollok and Sir Robert Lorimer, architect; plans and specifications by Messrs Buchan & Partners, engineers; Sir William Arrol & Co. civil engineering contractors; the English Electric Co. hydro-electric plant, 1925-27 with some later alterations. L-plan stripped classical power station and transformer rooms. Painted render.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: single recessed bay to left (E) and lower 3-bays to right (W). Pilasters and raised band courses at ground floor surrounding former vehicular doors (now infilled 2009). Banded eaves course (not to lower block) with deep blocking course above. Later pedestrian doors at ground floor. Regular fenestration at 1st and 2nd floors.

E (REAR) ELEVATION: 9 bays with small gables roughly 3-bay block to left (S) and slightly advanced single bay to far right (N) with single rectangular window at 1st floor. Continuous arcade of large round headed windows to principal floor with pilasters in between; rectangular windows to terminal bays to right (N) with. Corniced eaves course with small rectangular multi-pane windows to attic in raised surrounds. Large vehicular door in raised surround at ground floor to centre with boarded timber two-leaf door.

S ELEVATION: roughly 2-bay elevation with advanced pitched roof former caretakers flat at ground floor with recessed blind windows to power station.

W (RIVER) ELEVATION: similar to that at E with advanced lower block to far left (N) with 2-bay return. Deep base course with rectangular windows (now infilled 2009). Central section of power station supported on large concrete piers spanning tailrace.

Small-pane glazing to turbine room and switch house block; non-traditional aluminium windows to attendant's house and offices. Reinforced concrete roofs to turbine room and switch house; grey slate roof to house.

INTERIOR: some original early 20th century features still in place. Terracotta floor tiles. 1920s shell light shades over some of the dials. Original bank of switch gear preserved in situ on balcony. Original transformer rooms to N with some equipment still in-situ.

TANK AND PIPES: circular white-rendered concrete surge tank located above Bonnington Pavilion; 2 tall concrete surge shafts slightly down hill. 2 riveted, green steel pipes connect the tank to power station.

Statement of Interest

Stonebyres Power Station is an outstanding example of an early hydroelectric power station and is of national importance as one of the earliest large scale schemes for public supply in Britain. The scheme is also of considerable technical importance as an example of run-of-the river technology being utilised for power generation. The Falls of Clyde development consisted of two nearly identical power stations at Bonnington (see separate listing) and Stonebyres both of which utilised the flow of the River Clyde for power generation. Hydro-electric schemes had been used previously by the British Aluminium Company for powering factories at Foyers and Kinlochleven in the 1890s and 1900s, and a small plant at Inverness had been operational from about the same time, but hydro-power had never before been used on this scale. The success of the Clyde scheme was to encourage investment in the Tummel scheme of 1930 and Galloway scheme of 1936. The design of the Bonnington (see separate listing) and Stonebyres influenced the stations in the Tummel and Galloway schemes, particularly at Tummel where Sir Matthew Ochterlony was a member of the Advisory Committee. The design at Tummel bears a striking resemblance to that at Bonnington, for example in the simple white cubic forms of the buildings and the robust classical details.

Stonebyres power station makes a significant contribution to the landscape of the area, prominently sited on the Clyde just beneath the Stonebyres Falls. As the surroundings at Stonebyres were recognised to be of exceptional natural beauty, attention was paid to sympathetic design. The turbine hall with its simple classical detailing dominates the composition. It is not clear who was responsible for the design details but elements, for example in the rhythm of the round-headed windows and dividing pilasters are reminiscent of the work by Sir Robert Lorimer in the early 1920s and very likely indicate his hand in the design details. The use of round-headed windows was standard in pre-World War II power stations.

An Act of Parliament was required to sanction the development of Bonnington and Stonebyres power stations and the associated works. During 1924 objections were raised to the proposed scheme by the Gourock Rope Company who owned the mills at New Lanark in the 1920s as they felt the works might interfere with the water supply need to operate the mills. However these were overcome and the design went ahead as planned.

The development of the Falls of Clyde Scheme predates the 1943 Hydroelectric (Scotland) Act which formalised the development of Hydroelectricity in Scotland and led to the founding of the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board. Those developments which predated the 1943 act were developed by individual companies as a response to particular market and topographic conditions, in this case as a direct requirement for the production of aluminium. The completion of a number of schemes (including Galloway, Grampian and those associated with the British Aluminium Company) without a national strategic policy framework is highly unusual as is the consistency of high quality aesthetic and engineering design across all of the schemes.

Sir Edward McColl was one of the foremost hydroelectric engineers of the twentieth century. In addition to pioneering the use of run-of-the-river technology in Scotland at the Falls of Clyde scheme he went on to work for the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board. One of his most high profile schemes was the design and development of Britain's first pumped storage facility at Ben Cruachan in Argyll where the turbine house and transformer station are housed in large subterranean caverns hewn out of the interior of the mountain.

Some later alterations have included the blocking of the vehicular entrance doors to the N fa├žade to allow the formation of a new transformer station, relocated from the original adjacent to the turbine hall.

(Listed 2011 as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Study)

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