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Castle Toward, Chinese Lakes Including Bridges

A Category B Listed Building in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.8772 / 55°52'37"N

Longitude: -5.0104 / 5°0'37"W

OS Eastings: 211777

OS Northings: 668987

OS Grid: NS117689

Mapcode National: GBR GF05.MQK

Mapcode Global: WH2ML.0JCV

Entry Name: Castle Toward, Chinese Lakes Including Bridges

Listing Date: 20 July 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400800

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51863

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dunoon and Kilmun

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Dunoon

Parish: Dunoon And Kilmun

Traditional County: Argyllshire

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Circa 1930. Pair of man-made, crescent-plan, stone-lined reservoir ponds in picturesque style, each with its own island. Pond to S with pair of ornamental round-arched pedestrian bridges and stone-lined boat mooring cut. Bridge arches are of shuttered concrete construction overlaid with grey schist stone steps and rubble vousoiurs.

Statement of Interest

Part of a B-Group comprising - Castle Toward; Castle Toward, Gate Lodge and Garage; Castle Toward, Walled Garden To East, Walled Garden To North and Glasshouse and Workshop Range; Castle Toward, Chinese Lakes including Bridges (See separate listings).

This pair of man-made ponds, each with its own small island reached by ornamental round-arched pedestrian bridges occupy a secluded, wooded location on high ground to the N of Toward estate and are an interesting element of the early 20th century designed landscape. They are commonly refered to as the 'Chinese Lakes' due to the island/bridge design being reminiscent of oriental forms. Toward Estate is notable for its innovative use of stone-lined channels for water courses supplying water throughout the estate. The spring that feeds the two ponds runs down to the house and provides its water supply.

Collectively, the early 20th century programme of aggrandisement at Toward Estate, including the ancillary additions within the designed landscape, provide an excellent and rare example of estate building on a significant scale in Scotland during the inter-war period.

Castle Toward was built by David Hamilton for Kirkman Finlay, a successful merchant and former Lord Provost in Glasgow. Between 1919 and 1945 new owner Major Andrew Coats, a member of a wealthy Paisley threadmaking family, invested huge sums of money enlarging the estate at Toward. The large castellated Gothic mansion house (see separate listing) doubled in size and new buildings, additions and alterations to the existing estate and grounds were carried out by Coats's architect, Frank W Deas.

Deas was a very close friend of renowned Scottish architect Robert Lorimer and whose Arts and Crafts approach to design was much akin as demonstrated in Deas' garden ancillary buildings at Toward which are notable for their distinctive use of grey schist stone, layered in thin courses, providing a distinctive character to the 20th century re-modelling at Toward and clearly distinguishing them from the earlier 19th century fabric.

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