Statement of Special Interest
The windmill at Drumgarth is one of only a few remaining roofed windmills in Scotland. It was rebuilt in its secluded garden site around 1870-80 from its previous city centre site and it is very likely to contain some mid 17th century fabric. There is some decorative detailing to the roof and it is designed in its present position to take advantage of views over the surrounding countryside. In its use of material from an earlier windmill, it has an important link to the industrial past of Aberdeen.
Age and Rarity
This windmill is situated in the gardens of Drumgarth House. Drumgarth was built in 1859 for George Jamieson, a jeweller, and is designed by the Inverness architects Alexander & William Reid and Mackenzie. Drumgarth and its windmill is situated in the Pitfodels area of Aberdeen, which was purchased and feued by the Pitfodels Land Company (established 1854). Jamieson was a partner in the company and Drumgarth was one of the first houses to be built on the former Pitfodels estate.
Fiddes in his article Pitfodels and Early History of Garthdee states that Jamieson had the windmill resited in 1859 from his feu near Windmill Brae in Aberdeen city centre to Drumgarth, possibly for use as a summerhouse. However, map evidence suggests that the windmill was moved from its original site around 1870-80. The Large Scale Town Ordnance Survey Map of Aberdeen, published in 1867 depicts a windmill at the south entrance to Windmill Lane, close to Windmill Brae and the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, published in 1869 shows the house at Drumgarth, but does not show the windmill. By the 1899, 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, the windmill is shown in its present position to the west of Drumgarth. It is likely therefore that the windmill was moved to Drumgarth around 1870-80.
The windmill is likely to date from the mid 17th century and a windmill is shown at the Windmill Lane site on the 1661 map of Aberdeen by James Gordon. It is also referred to in Alexander Skene s book A Succinct Survey of the famous City of Aberdeen in which he states there are eight mills belonging to the city, and lands thereunto pertaining, whereof a new windmill builded of stone and lyme at the south entrie of the city . It is probable that the resited windmill has some mid 17th century fabric within it. Fiddes states that the weathervane is dated 1700 and 1859 with the initials GJ and AL (George Jamieson and his wife Ann Leslie). The previous Listed Building Record, written in 1981, states that there is a fine 1760 weather vane and a 1680 lintel at the 1st floor. This was not verified in 2015.
According to Donnachie and Stewart (1964-6) around 100 windmills were built in Scotland between the 16th and 19th centuries, of which around 40 survive. These are all of the tower type and none have their sails. The one at Aberdeen is described as probably standing on an artificial mound, which suggests that it was a vaulted tower mill, which was the commonest type. The tower mill appeared in Scotland in the mid to late 17th century. This tower form, which at Drumgarth is a simple, tapering style, gradually developed in the 18th century into larger, more complex mills with more machinery and often with ancillary buildings. Nearly all the windmills fell into disuse over the course of the 19th century because of the industrial revolution.
The vaulted tower mill type consisted of a fixed tower with a movable cap which supported the sails. This cap was then turned to the wind either by hand or machinery. The structure was most commonly built of rubble and it stood on an artificial mound, over a stone-built vaulted chamber. The tower would be in a tapering form and internally there were usually two storeys, with the upper storey housing the machinery. Examples of this mill type can be found at Monkton, in Ayrshire (see separate listing, LB14252) and also at Gordonstoun, near Elgin (see separate listing, LB2246). Both of these have been converted into doocots.
The mills were used most commonly for grinding grain, but also for pumping water for drainage. They were found all over Scotland, but predominantly in the east, where the rainfall was less. In areas with higher rainfall, watermills were more common.
Although it has been moved and has been altered by the loss of the sails and machinary, the windmill at Drumgarth is one of only a few windmills that survive in Scotland.
Architectural or Historic Interest
The interior was not seen in 2015. It is presumed that any machinery from the windmill was removed when the windmill was moved to its present position. Donnachie and Stewart (1964-6), note that the only windmill in Scotland with surviving machinery is at Carluke in South Lanarkshire (see separate listing, LB726).
The tapered tower form is the standard form for a windmill dating to the late 17th or early 18th century.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
There is no particular technological innovation at Drumgarth windmill. In terms of materials, rubble was a standard material used for building tower windmills.
In terms of design quality, the addition of the conical roof with a finial shows that some attention was taken to give the structure some decorative features and this adds to its interest. This attention to detail is confirmed by the use of decorative fishscale slates.
The large upper storey windows are likely to date to its move to the garden and were probably inserted to enable the surrounding area to be viewed from the structure. These confirm its change of use from an industrial building to a folly within a garden setting.
The windmill has lost its original industrial city centre setting, but has some interest in its current garden position. It is set into a raised section of the garden, echoing its original raised position on an artificial mound. Its positioning in a secluded site, surrounded by trees and at some distance from the house suggests that some care was taken into where the windmill would be sited. Decorating a landscape with a number of interesting architectural features which could be viewed from a distance, or visited on a tour around an estate became fashionable amongst estate owners in the 18th century and the windmill has the appearance of recreating this in a suburban garden context.
There are no known regional variations.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2016).
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as Windmill, Drumgarth, Garthdee Road .
Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 134469 and 20209.
Gordon, J. (1661) A Description of New and Old Aberdeens, at The National Library of Scotland, http://maps.nls.uk/view/74400885
Milne, A. (surveyed 1789) Plan of City of Aberdeen. Edinburgh.
Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1866, Published 1869) Aberdeen, Sheet LXXXVI.2, 25 Inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance Survey Map (Surveyed 1866, Published 1867) Aberdeen, Large Scale Scottish Town Plan. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.
Brogden, W. A., (1998) Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide. Edinburgh, The Rutland Press, p168.
Donnachie I.L. and Stewart, N.K. (1964-6) Scottish Windmills – an Outline and Inventory in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. p.276-297.
Fiddes, J (2005) Pitfodels and the Early History of Garthdee in Aberdeen Town and County History Society, Issue 1. p.25-33.
Fraser, G.M. (1921) The Old Deeside Road. Aberdeen: The University Press. p.30.
Skene, A. (1685, reprinted 1833) A Succinct Survey of the famous City of Aberdeen. Aberdeen: P. Buchan. p.25-26.
Dictionary of Scottish Architects. A & W Reid & Mackenzie at http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=202331 [accessed 01/08/2016].
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Printed: 19/11/2018 22:01