Dougal and Andrew Duncan, 1932; 2-storey ballroom added 1935; altered and extended later 20th century. Original single storey, 5-bay (now 6-bay), rectangular-plan, former roadhouse extended to E and wrapped around later 2-storey, 5-bay ballroom addition. Profusion of dormer gablets and rustic timber cladding give appearance of Swiss chalet/log cabin style; some gablets have diminutive triangular coloured glass light and Art Deco glazing. Rear block of concrete or brick completely encased by decorative rustic timber and bark cladding with random and geometric designs interspersed occasionally at ground floor by naïve floral panels, plain weatherboarding to front to single storey bays. Painted concrete base with incised decoration of tree trunks.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: principal elevation to S with projecting (1932) single storey bays now encased in weatherboarding and comprising blocked windows (all replacement) below 6 dormer gablets, and late 20th century projection at right (adjoining formerly piended E end) wrapping around corner and extending across E elevation; door to outer left bay at S with painted glass panel. W elevation retains log work cladding. Gabletted 1st floor of 2-storey ballroom range rises above single storey bays and retains decorative log work to each elevation.
Original tripartite casement windows to 1st floor ballroom with coloured leaded glazing, some replaced and some damaged; some tiny triangular windows to gablets also decoratively glazed; modern plate glass glazing to single storey S and W. Piended slate roofs with decorative terracotta ridge tiles and apex finials.
INTERIOR: some decorative leaded and coloured glass to internal windows and doors, including Art Deco 'BALL-ROOM' panel over screen door. Open-plan ground floor with Deco influence detailing throughout including square piers and light fittings. 1st floor ball-room with coved ceiling and metal ties. Small bar area to each floor with small decorative windows and some rustic timberwork.
BUNGALOW: single storey, 3-bay, weatherboarded exterior, bipartite windows with multi-pane glazing in upper lights; brick mural stack and corrugated iron roof.
Statement of Special Interest
Much fine rustic detailing is still evident at this unusual early roadhouse set among wooded hills on the outskirts of Elgin. The demand for enlarged premises (leading to significant later alterations) makes it obvious that this was a popular venue for motorists in the Elgin area. Douglas Duncan, the architect, had spent some time in Canada and this may be the source of inspiration for his rustic 'log cabin' design. Motoring became increasingly fashionable and affordable during the 1930s, and the newly invented roadhouse filled, as McKean says, 'a gap between the grand Victorian hotel and the drinking 'howff''. The original 1932 structure was a picturesque single storey, thatched, 5-bay rectangle appearing in a contemporary photograph entitled 'The Oak Wood Tea Gardens'. Arranged in an arc at the front elevation, are white linen covered tables and chairs placed immediately behind a row of 5 early petrol pumps which were 'painted to represent trees and the supervening lights camouflaged as burning bushes' (Seton). The enjoyment of motoring parties presumably extended to watching other motorists fill their cars with petrol. Accompanying this early photograph is a poem entitled 'The Café in the Wood'. A slightly later photograph shows the original building dwarfed by its 2-storey extension and no longer thatched but retaining its timber detailing and small paired windows to the front. Some of the original petrol pumps have also been replaced by a rather more functional square design and there is large 'Esso' sign held aloft on a latticework structure. The tables have been replaced by rustic benches. Later 20th century alterations, included removing the piended E end of the original building and stretching that elevation to wrap around the SE angle. In 1935 an office and wooden chalets (known as Honeymoon Hotel) with projecting roofs forming a verandah on rustic timbers, were erected to the east of the roadhouse, and were rented out at six shillings and sixpence per night. These were demolished in the 1990s. The site also included space for caravans and a well with goldfish. The Oakwood ceased trading in 1994.
Category revised from B to C(S) 2007