History in Structure

1-4 Lochandu Cottages

A Category A Listed Building in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.4362 / 56°26'10"N

Longitude: -5.2281 / 5°13'41"W

OS Eastings: 201079

OS Northings: 731789

OS Grid: NN010317

Mapcode National: GBR FCGP.XR3

Mapcode Global: WH1HM.NHN8

Plus Code: 9C8PCQPC+FQ

Entry Name: 1-4 Lochandu Cottages

Listing Name: 1-4 Lochandu Cottages, excluding additions to rear, interiors and detached outbuildings, Bonawe

Listing Date: 28 August 2019

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407142

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52504

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200407142

Location: Glenorchy and Inishail

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Parish: Glenorchy And Inishail

Traditional County: Argyllshire


1-4 Lochandu Cottages is a row of mid-18th century single storey and attic, originally rectangular plan, former workers' cottages built for the Bonawe Ironworks. They were built as eight cottages arranged in mirrored pairs and have been converted into four dwellings. The row is built in rubble masonry, now painted white. They are built to the southeast of the ironworks, overlooking the furnace and Airds Bay to the north.

Each cottage had an entrance and adjacent ground floor window (the windows and doors have been replaced) in the principal elevation (north). The roof is pitched and slated. There are chimneystacks on each end gable and one central chimneystack on the ridge.

The interiors (seen in 2018 and 2019) have been substantially remodelled including the removal of partition walls between each pair of cottages and the addition of staircases. There are ground floor and dormer extensions to the rear.

Legal exclusions

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: additions to the rear, interiors and all detached outbuildings.

Historical development

The Bonawe Ironworks (scheduled monument SM90037) was operational from 1753 until 1876. It was established by the Newland Company, later known as the Lorn Furnace Company. This row of eight dwellings was part of the wider provision of residential accommodation for workers at Bonawe Ironworks. The row is believed to have been constructed in the two years after the start of operations at the furnace, in 1753. As such it is the earliest residential accommodation built on the site; two other properties – the manager's accommodation known as Bonawe House and an L-plan block of flatted housing now known as Shore House (see separate listings – LB12183 and LB52505) were built in the later 18th century. The structure appears on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of the area, published in 1875.

Statement of Interest

Lochandu Cottages meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: additions to the rear, interiors and all detached outbuildings.

Architectural interest


Simply built, the cottages have interest as early examples of purpose-built workers accommodation for an industrial complex (see Age and Rarity below). They are of specific architectural interest as an early linear row of four mirrored pairs which retain their domestic character. The principal elevation of Lochandu Cottages remains readable as four pairs of cottages and their original function as workers houses is also still clearly discernible, although the interiors have been significantly altered.

The original internal arrangement of each cottage was very simple, with a single ground floor room and an attic reached by a simple loft stair. However, the interiors of these eight dwellings have been significantly modified. Walls have been removed to create four properties from the original eight. The simple loft stairs have been removed and replaced with a modern staircase. The ground floor rear elevation has been extended and the roof, at the rear, have later dormer extensions to each property. There is no special interest the interiors.

The building has a simple plan form based on a long rectangular footprint. This footprint had originally been uniformly subdivided into four pairs of mirrored dwellings, each with ground floor and attic accommodation. This form is still readable on the principle elevation. It is the regular, uniformity of the range and this simple plan form which adds to the interest of the type – a modest, functional structure providing basic accommodation for the workforce.


The row of cottages forms part of the wider complex at Bonawe Ironworks (scheduled monument SM90037), and is located 100m southeast of the furnace itself. The close proximity of the housing to the industrial complex is an important aspect of the setting of Lochandu cottages and contribute to our understanding of how the ironworks functioned. The row is visible from the processing area and retains its character as an integral component of the overall complex. Overall the setting of the complex is largely unaltered which adds to the special interest.

Historic interest

Age and Rarity

Bonawe Ironworks is an exceptionally rare and intact survival of the early iron processing industry in Scotland, reflecting industrial expansion in Highland Scotland during the mid-18th century. Around the furnace, the Newland Company developed a small community with company housing, church, school and shop (the location of the church, school and shop are unknown). The only other surviving charcoal-blast furnace that approaches Bonawe's completeness is Duddon Bridge Ironworks, Cumbria, which operated between 1736 and 1871. The upstanding remains there comprise the blast furnace and its adjacent buildings, an iron-ore shed and two charcoal sheds. However, none of the associated housing survives.

This row of eight dwellings was part of the wider provision of residential accommodation for workers at Bonawe Ironworks. The row is believed to have been constructed soon after the start of operations at the furnace in 1753 (RCAHMS 1980, 291). Therefore, Lochandu Cottages are an important component part of the ironworks and are part of its function and history. They show the domestic circumstances for workers and their families at Bonawe, many of whom came here from Cumbria with the owners of the site. The cottages are an integral part of the overall significance of the larger site.

Workers accommodation is a feature of several industrial complexes from the mid-18th century onwards. Dating to the mid-18th century, these cottages are a particularly early example of workers accommodation provided as part of a larger industrial site. They are a rare survival in this context. Apart from Shore House (LB52505) which was also part of the complex at Bonawe, there are no known comparable dwellings associated with this early era of the iron industry in Scotland that survive to the same extent. This example also predates the housing built as part of David Dale's mill complex at New Lanark, one of Scotland most well-known examples of purpose-built workers housing.

The assessment of records held by the National Record of the Historic Environment in Scotland for the iron industry indicate the remains of housing, for example at Glen Kinglass (Argyll & Bute), Furnace (Argyll & Bute), Wilsontown, (South Lanarkshire) Lugar, Waterside and Muirkirk (East Ayrshire). Examples from these sites tend to be of later date (late 18th century through to the early twentieth century); of differing designs (such as tenemented, single storey and/or detached) and significantly remodelled or demolished. Domestic accommodation was provided at other, broadly contemporary, industrial sites in Argyll particularly relating to slate and lime production. However, these again are of limited comparable value because of significant differences in age, design and the degree of survival.

Social historical interest

Bonawe Furnace was among the first industrial enterprises established in the Scottish Highlands. It was the most successful of the numerous ironworks established in the 18th century and is the most complete, including the survival of workers' housing such as Lochandu Cottages. Even before Bonawe had been built in 1753, coke-fuelled furnaces were being developed and were to ultimately outcompete the likes of Bonawe. The site was the last ironworks in Scotland to use charcoal-fuelled blast smelting.

The ironmasters who established the Argyll furnaces (two other iron processing sites are known of at Glen Kinglass, 8km to the northeast and at Furnace, on Loch Fyne approximately 30km to the south) came from Cumbria. They did so primarily to exploit the extensive local woodland to produce the vast amounts of charcoal required to fuel the furnaces. This Cumbrian connection is evident within the construction details of ironworks itself. The original workforce that operated the furnace, including their families, also came from Cumbria, to live in what was a completely Gaelic environment. The production of charcoal in the nearby forests however, was carried out by the local population. Information about the lives and conditions of those working at the Furnace is very scare as there are few documentary sources. This makes the survival of the housing all the more significant.

Association with people or events of national importance

The Bonawe industrial site is associated with the commemoration of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was one of the first places where news of Nelson's death at Trafalgar, came ashore. A ship arriving at Bonawe (and thought to be collecting pig iron or possibly cannonballs from the furnace) is said to have brought the news having met with HMS Pickle in Falmouth, on her return from the battle with news of Nelson's death. On hearing the news, the workforce took a prehistoric standing stone from a field near Airds Bay and re-erected it with an inscription commemorating Nelson on a hillock near Muckairn Parish Church, in Taynuilt (scheduled monument SM4077). This believed to be the first memorial erected to Nelson.

1-4 Lochandu Cottages was previously listed at category A as part of 'Lorne Furnace and ancillary buildings, Bonawe' (LB12180).

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