An asymmetrical two-storey house with an attic, built in the English Arts and Crafts style and dating from around 1910, possibly to the designs of W L Carruthers & Alexander. Located on the outskirts of Nairn, the house is set within large private gardens and occupies an elevated position overlooking Moray Firth. It is irregular in plan and the walls are painted and harled with projecting eaves and jetties to the first floor. The principal (north) elevation is U-plan with a main re-entrant doorway sheltered by an open loggia. The side (east and west) elevations are plainly detailed with irregular openings. The rear (south) elevation is L-plan with a shallow canted bay to the left of the ground floor.
The shallow piended roof has graded stone slates and swept dormer windows. There are painted and rendered ridge and end chimneystacks with moulded sandstone copings and clay cans. The windows are largely one, two or three-light multi-pane timber casements, some of which have mullions and transoms. There are multi-paned timber sliding sashes across the east elevation and to the upper floors of the west and rear elevations. Much early glass survives.
The interior was partially altered during the later 20th century, however the early layout and decorative scheme remains apparent. The layout comprises a large reception hall leading to a long corridor that runs north-south, from which the main stair and rooms are located. The attic contains a flat accessed separately from the east elevation via one of the two service stairs. Early decorative features include simple timber-panelled doors, skirtings, in-built cupboards, cornicing and some exposed timber ceiling beams in the principal rooms. There are a number of cast-iron and brick fireplaces throughout, including an inglenook to the ground floor office, which also has timber-panelled walls. The reception hall, which is accessed via an oversized round arch to the northeast, retains many early features including clay floor tiles and timber boards, exposed ceiling beams, and dark timber doors with decorative iron hinges, handles and fretwork.
The single-storey former Gate Lodge (now Delniesmuir Cottage) has a symmetrical three-bay principal (west) elevation. The walls are harled and painted. The shallow piended roof has projecting eaves and replacement graded stone slates. The ridge and end chimneystacks match those of the main house. The rear (east) elevation has been altered with the addition of a conservatory, which is excluded from the listing. The windows are largely late-20th century timber replacements except for those to the south and west elevations, which have later leaded lattice insertions.
The interior layout and fabric of the former Gate Lodge has been substantially altered with no early 20th century features visible.
The entrance drive has plain square gate piers of snecked stone flanked by matching walls.
With the opening of the railway from Inverness in 1855 and its later expansion to Aberdeen, Nairn attracted new residents who were enticed by its sea air, outdoor bathing facilities and golf courses (Gifford, p. 278). As a result of this burgeoning popularity, a number of large villas were built in Nairn and the surrounding area during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Built around 1910, Delniesmuir was one of these villas and was the residence of Major Macandrew in 1911 (The Scotsman 22 September, p. 2).
A sales entry for the house on 15 September 1926 noted that it comprised public rooms, ten bedrooms, dressing rooms, three bathrooms and servant's rooms, an entrance lodge, a garage and four acres of grounds (The Scotsman p. 2). First shown on the National Grid Map (surveyed pre-1930, published 1959), the footprint of the buildings and the setting appears largely as it is now (2019) and as is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1964.
During the second half of the 20th century Delniesmuir was converted into a residential care home for the elderly and alterations were made to the interior layout and fabric. The house and former gate lodge were then sold to a private individual in the late 1990s and further changes were made. An aerial photograph of the site from the late-20th century (information from the proposer) shows that there were a range of single-storey structures abutting to the east elevation of the house with flat, corrugated iron roofs. These were replaced by the present extension in the early 21st century, which is excluded from the listing. The house currently operates as offices with residential accommodation.
Statement of Special Interest
In our current state of knowledge Delniesmuir and the former gate lodge (Delniesmuir Cottage) meets the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:
- A distinctive example of an Arts and Crafts style villa, built during the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement in the early years of the 20th century
- The building retains features characteristic of the Arts and Crafts style
- Although partially altered by late-20th century additions and changes to the interior, the historic character is well-retained
- In conjunction with the former gate lodge, gate piers and surrounding gardens, the historic setting is well-retained
In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the single-storey extension to the east elevation and the escape stair to the re-entrant north elevation of Delniesmuir, the conservatory to the east elevation of Delniesmuir Cottage, and all other outbuildings.
In terms of their design, form and materials, Delniesmuir and the former gate lodge are a notable example of the English Arts and Crafts style. Influenced by the work of key exponents, such as Charles Voysey, Edwin Lutyens and Robert Lorimer, the buildings display typical characteristics of the movement. These include the asymmetry and irregular plan, and the use of traditional materials and craftsmanship. Other distinguishing features often associated with the movement include the overhanging piended roofs, the use of graded slates, the horizontal multi-paned windows and the jetties at first floor level.
The Arts and Crafts movement spanned a period of around 50 years and reached its height around the turn of the 20th century. It employed a romanticised interpretation of rural living and embraced architecture as a way to revive craftsmanship using locally-sourced materials and traditional construction methods. The movement rejected prevailing revival styles, such as the tendency to a mix of classical architectural motifs, and celebrated traditional craftsmanship, simple forms and promoted an anti-industrial approach to design and manufacturing. This was largely in reaction to the increased materialism and mass-production of the late 19th century.
As it was primarily used for aesthetic purposes, use of the English Arts and Crafts style in Scotland did not attempt to recreate local building traditions in terms of form, scale, materials or methods. This is apparent at Delniesmuir, which although employing traditional materials and methods, they are not characteristic of the northeast of Scotland. More in-line with the building traditions of the south of England, the overall design is reminiscent of the work of English architects such as Ballie Scott and Charles Voysey.
The asymmetrical and sprawling nature of the plan form at Delniesmuir is a characteristic typical of Arts and Crafts style houses and survives partially intact. An irregular and narrow footprint such as this was favoured as it maximised views out to the surrounding gardens and landscape. This connection with nature and the desire to bring the garden into the home, was one of the key principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. The L-plan rear elevation extends into the garden, taking advantage of the south-facing aspect and maximising views into the gardens.
The interior fabric of Delniesmuir has been partially modernised but the decorative scheme largely retains a plainness, characterised by simple detailing. The principal public rooms such as the reception hall, the drawing room and office display more decorative elements, including the exposed ceiling timbers, timber-panelled walls, an inglenook fireplace and decorative ironwork. These decorative features make reference to the vernacular and use traditional craftsmanship, which is typical of the interiors of more modest Arts and Crafts style houses.
Delniesmuir has been partially altered by the later additions and alterations to the layout and internal fabric. These changes have had some impact on the traditional character of the building.
The former gate lodge (Delniesmuir Cottage) was originally rectangular in plan, and is typical for lodge buildings associated with smaller country houses and villas. The interior layout, fabric and footprint have been substantially altered and there are no internal features of note.
The architect of Delniesmuir and its former gate lodge is not known but it may have been the work of the Inverness-based practice of W L Carruthers & Alexander, who are noted as the architects of a house at Delnies in Nairn in 1910 (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). In addition to restoration work, the practice (1901-14) designed and extended a number of private houses and villas around Inverness-shire. In the late 19th century, William Carruthers designed several large Arts and Crafts Neo-Tudor style villas, which were heavily influenced by the work of his former employer, Sir Ernest George (Dictionary of Scottish Architects).
Located one and a half miles to the west of Nairn, Delniesmuir is sited along the main road to Inverness, on land that once formed part of Delnies Wood. The house is accessed by a sweeping drive from the north, via the entrance way and former gate lodge (Delniesmuir Cottage), which are adjacent to the main road. Setback and surrounded by lawns and mature planting, the house is almost entirely shielded from view but the elevated position provides views out over Moray Firth.
The immediate setting of the buildings has not changed significantly since their construction in the early 20th century, or from the Ordnance Survey map (surveyed pre-1930 and published 1959). Delniesmuir retains its historic setting, the appearance and secluded nature of which is characteristic of a large Arts and Crafts country villa.
In conjunction with the former gate lodge, gate piers and surrounding gardens, the historic setting is well-retained.
Age and rarity
The Arts and Crafts movement reached its peak in Scotland between 1890 and 1914, during which time it was enthusiastically taken up by architects such as Robert Lorimer, Robert Wemyss, Alexander Paterson and William Leiper.
Influenced by architectural journals and prevailing fashions, the English strain of the Arts and Crafts style was popular for domestic architecture in Scotland, particularly for villas in urban areas or larger detached houses on small estates. Examples that survive with minimal alterations and additions, with much of their original character intact are relatively rare, particularly in the northeast region. A small number of listed examples exist in the Moray and Inverness areas, including the nearby Willowvale (LB38460) of 1922, Drummore House in Cullen, 1907-09 (LB23799) and Knockomie House of 1914 by W H Woodroffe (LB8694).
Built during the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement in the early years of the 20th century, Delniesmuir is a distinctive example of an Arts and Crafts style villa. The authenticity of the original design has been moderately impacted by the late-20th century additions and alterations, however much of its traditional character is retained and it remains an important example of its building type and style.
Social historical interest
Social historical interest is the way a building contributes to our understanding of how people lived in the past, and how our social and economic history is shown in a building and/or in its setting.
Delniesmuir was built as a private house in a rural setting. It has some social historical interest as it demonstrates the interest of the period in reviving traditional techniques and building styles, largely for aesthetic purposes.
Association with people or events of national importance
There is no association with a person or event of national importance.
Statutory address, category of listing changed from B to C and listed building record revised in 2019. Previously listed as 'Delnies Delniesmuir and Gate Lodge'.