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Culzean Castle Estate, Gas Works, Including Gas House, Cottage, Gas Holder, Walls and Gatepiers

A Category B Listed Building in Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.355 / 55°21'18"N

Longitude: -4.7864 / 4°47'11"W

OS Eastings: 223451

OS Northings: 610312

OS Grid: NS234103

Mapcode National: GBR 43.4N66

Mapcode Global: WH2Q6.FNZM

Entry Name: Culzean Castle Estate, Gas Works, Including Gas House, Cottage, Gas Holder, Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 2 November 2011

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400776

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51825

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkoswald

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Girvan and South Carrick

Parish: Kirkoswald

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Circa 1840. Irregularly shaped walled enclosure on 2 levels, with entrance to W, gas house to SW, remains of gas holder to E, and cottage, on upper level, to SE. Located at shore beside old harbour, to E of Culzean Castle.

GAS HOUSE: single storey, rectangular-plan, pitched roofed, astylar classical retort house, now a museum. Random rubble with ashlar dressings. N ELEVATION: pedimented gable with escutcheon in tympanum. Arched entrance. W ELEVATION: window with external timber shutters. E and S ELEVATIONS: blind. 4-pane timber sash and case bipartite window with iron columnar mullion. Panelled timber double doors with fanlight. Slate roof. Tall tapering chimney stack of mixed stock bricks mounted on ashlar base. INTERIOR (seen 2010): single chamber with display of replica retorts and equipment. Flagstone floor. Painted rubble walls.

COTTAGE: single storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, castellated style, former gas works manager's house, with crowstep gables and corbelled roofless pepperpot corner turrets, now a museum. Random rubble with tooled ashlar dressings and ashlar base course. 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Vertically boarded timber door. Pitched slate roof. Single ashlar stack on each gable. INTERIOR (seen 2010): combed ceiling. Plasterboard walls and ceiling, vertically boarded timber doors, flagstone floor. No discernible original features.

GAS HOLDER: stone-lined cylindrical tank of tooled ashlar set into paved podium. Mounting for gas holder.

WALLS AND GATEPIERS: random rubble with saddleback coping on W and crenellation on N side. Square plan ashlar gate piers with flat pyramidal copes.

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 gas works at Culzean is a rare survival. Large country houses were having them installed during the 1830s, following Walter Scott's example at Abbotsford in 1821, and this one is an early instance of the type. It was commissioned by the 12th Earl of Cassillis; one of his numerous improvements to the estate in this case to provide a means of lighting the Castle. Originally using coal, it was converted to acetylene in 1901 and remained in use until the 1950s when electricity was finally installed. The gas works slid into dereliction, with the cottage roofless, until restored as a museum in 1992. The architect is unknown, although the cottage is in the Culzean Adam revival style, based on the buildings at Home Farm, which was used for Enoch Lodge (1837) and the New Laundry, later called Dolphin House, of 1840. The latter is attributed to William Reid, who may have been the author in this case too.

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.

William Reid (died 1849) was in practice in Glasgow during the early 19th century. He is known to have designed the classical St George's Church, Paisley (1819) and possibly the castellated County Buildings there. He won a prize in 1813 for his Calton Hill scheme.

Listed as part of the Culzean Castle Estate Review 2010-11.

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