1815-17; enlarged and remodelled in Jacobean style by Brown & Wardrop, 1860-64; alterations by Thomas McCrae, 1937-8. 2-storey, attic and basement with ground falling away to rear, roughly 5-bay, irregular-plan country house with large curvilinear dormer gables, corner turrets and range of single-storey ancillary buildings adjoining rear. Squared, coursed, bull-faced grey whinstone with polished yellow sandstone ashlar dressings. Band courses to each floor; eaves cornice; coped, finialled curvilinear gables linked by balustraded parapet. Regular fenestration with tabbed margins and projecting cills; rusticated long and short quoins; 2-storey circular flat-roofed corner turrets corbelled out at 1st floor (see Notes).
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 5 bays, symmetrical. Deep central porch with ball-finialled, balustraded parapet; 3 stone steps to single-leaf timber-panelled door with rectangular light above in advanced architrave with open pediment enclosing date 1864 and Clan Borthwick crest bearing the motto 'QUI CONDUCIT'. Regular fenestration with central gable-headed dormer flanked by 2 curvilinear gables. W ELEVATION with single-storey stone-mullioned canted window and 3-bay round-arched timber conservatory in re-entrant angle of advanced wing to left. 2 gabled wings to N (rear) ELEVATION flanking central service courtyard/lightwell with crenellated screen wall and 5-storey square-plan tower. Wing to right with corner turrets and truncated gablehead stack; wing to left with prominent gablehead stack. Long elevation of single-storey ancillary range extending to left.
Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows, plate glass to principal floor; 4-pane glazing to attic. Prominent, corniced ashlar stacks with buff clay cans. Grey slate roof. Cast-iron rainwater goods with hoppers.
BALUSTRADING, GARDEN TERRACES AND FORMER BALLROOM: low area walls extending from each side of porch, and turning around side elevations with balustraded sections and ball finials at corners. Terraced garden within truncated walls of former ballroom to W of house. Garden terrace in front of house with carved ornamental birdbath.
INTERIOR: stone steps within front porch leading to central hall; timber scale and platt staircase with closed-string timber balustrade and square panelled newels supporting carved urns, installed in the 1930s; round-arched stained-glass stair window; marble chimneypieces and decorative plasterwork ceilings to principal rooms; working timber shutters in some rooms.
GATES, GATEPIERS AND QUADRANT WALLS: dated 1871. 4 rusticated gatepiers with ornamental iron gates and coped quadrant wing walls. Tall piers flanking carriageway; lower plainer piers to foot gates. Polished sandstone ashlar. Base course; double string course; pyramidal caps. Central piers surmounted by sculpted angels with shields on dated and initialled, corniced plinths (see Notes). Decorative, cast-iron finialled gates; decorative floreate scrolls over pedestrian gates.
Statement of Special Interest
B-Group with 'Crookston House, South Gate Lodge' and 'Crookston House, Former Stables Including Boundary Wall' (see separate listings).
A well-detailed Jacobethan-Style Country House, Built For John Borthwick, 13th Of Crookston, and substantially remodelled and extended by the prominent Edinburgh architectural firm Wardrop & Brown, with good interiors. The original house formed the central 5-bay section visible from the front. The Brown & Wardrop work included the baronialisation and extension of the house, the corner turrets of which were originally ogee-roofed and later crenellated; and the addition of the ballroom, now largely demolished after being damaged by bombing in the Second World War.
The firm of Brown & Wardrop was formed when Thomas Brown II, who is thought to have trained in the office of William Burn, took his former apprentice and assistant James Maitland Wardrop into partnership in 1849. The practice was a prominent and wide-ranging one which developed a particular reputation for remodelling and enlarging older houses in a range of styles. The house remains in the possession of the Borthwick family, who were recognised as Borthwicks of Borthwick in 1944.
The imposing South entrance gatepiers incorporating shields held by angels are heraldic, one being inscribed JB (John Borthwick), the other EP (Elizabeth Pringle).
List description updated at resurvey (2009).