Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Planning Authority
Argyll And Bute
NS 29974 83575
229974, 683575


William Leiper, 1898. 2-storey and attic, eclectic chateau-like (Franco/Scottish Renaissance style with Shavian Old English details) L-plan mansion with varied roofline. Snecked, stugged red sandstone rubble, ashlar dressings and mock half-timbering detail. Base course; ashlar mullioned bipartite and tripartite windows; chamfered and moulded reveals; roll-moulded architraves; bargeboarded gabled dormers with mock half-timbering to gablehead.

S (DOUGLAS DRIVE/ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: advanced 2-bay entrance block off-centre left, recessed window bays flanking, full-height canted window to outer right, circular angle tower to left. Advanced block off-centre left; chamfered angles, moulded cill course at 1st floor, cornice, balustraded parapet; advanced pedimented Scottish Renaissance style porch to right flanked by low ashlar quadrant walls terminating in piers with ball finials; basket-arch entrance, clustered colonnette piers flanking, dentilled cornice, moulded panel and paterae to tympanum, fleur-de-lis finial to apex. Narrow ogee-arched window on return to right. Bipartite window to left with stylised scrolled pediment with raised and moulded panel to tympanum. Tripartite window to left at 1st floor, bipartite to right, moulded cill course. M-gabled dormer behind balustraded parapet above. Recessed bay to right with pair bipartite mullioned and transomed windows at ground (lead-pane glazing to casements, decorated lead-pane glazing to fixed upper panels). Balustraded ashlar balcony above supported on heavy moulded ashlar consoles with strapwork decoration. Bipartite French window behind at 1st floor.

Canted dormer above to left. Bay to outer right Full-height canted window to outer right; bipartite mullioned and transomed windows at ground and 1st floor windows. Small windows to upper storey with roll-moulded surround and lintel/eaves course; finialled polygonal slate roof. Window with decorated lead-pane glazing to left of advanced entrance block, Scottish Renaissance style dormer breaking eaves above with moulded apron and decorative gablehead. 3-storey tower to left, bipartite mullioned and transomed window and transomed window at ground; corbel course above, 3 windows at 1st floor with raised blank panel above window to centre; 3 small windows to upper storey with roll-moulded surround and lintel course, finialled, conical slate roof. W (SIDE) ELEVATION: circular angle tower to right, 2-storey canted window to left with bipartite mullioned and transomed windows at ground and 1st floor (2-2-2), decorated lead-pane glazing to ground windows, tall corbelled and coped parapet, canted dormer behind with piended slate roof and overhanging eaves.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: lop-sided gabled bay to outer right with wallhead stack breaking skew to right and bipartite attic window. Bipartite mullioned and transomed window to right at ground, bipartite window at 1st floor above. Stepped Elizabethan stair window to left, decorated lead-pane glazing. Pair of tripartite dormers above with mutual gable divided by tall sandstone stack.

Canted dormer in re-entrant angle to left with gambrel roof.

Service wing advanced to outer left (see below).

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-storey canted window off-centre right with mullioned and transomed windows at ground and 1st floor. (2-2-2), finialled polygonal slate roof, decorated lead-pane glazing at ground). Tripartite dormers flanking. Advanced off-set chimney wall to left with broad coped stack. Small window to left at 1st floor. Bipartite mullioned and transomed window to right (lead-pane glazing to windows at ground. Service wing to outer right (see below).


W elevation; bipartite windows at ground and 1st floor in re-entrant angle. Single storey and attic wing to left with 2 taller stair towers (later additions) abutting. Dormer to left.

E elevation; window to centre at ground, bipartite window to left, dormer above, gabled bay to rightwith half-timber to gablehead, tripartite window at ground and attic. Single storey wing to outer right with half-timbered porch in re-entrant angle, bipartite window to right. Single storey outbuildings abutting on N return and opposite yard (now accommodating garage) enclosed by snecked red sandstone rubble wall.

Lead-pane glazing to ground floor windows as noted above; mostly plate glass to casement windows, small-pane to fixed upper panes, also small pane to casement and sash and case windows. Green slate roof; tall coped ashlar stacks; original rainwater goods;

INTERIOR: marvellously rich interior. Half-glazed vestibule door.

Hall; wainscot, walls above rendered and lined as ashlar, coffered ceiling, moulded and lugged ashlar chimneypiece with panelled and pilastered overmantle, ashlar stair with timber balusters.

Drawing-room; 2-leaf panelled doors framed by fluted pilasters and entrablature, wainscot, geometric plasterwork to ceiling with coved cornice, inglenook recess with moulded and lugged ashlar chimneypiece with marble surround, ashlar and marble overmantle. Similar decoration to dining room, (wainscot and ceiling); inglenook recess with fluted pilasters to angles, overmantle with 3 round-headed panels set-in squared frames with decorated arch and spandrels. Pilastered segmental-arched side board recess, pilasters detailed as those to inglenook recess. Billiard room to attic, fielded wainscot, red tartan carpet, 2 timber chimneypieces, one with round-arched inglenook.

Bedroom with inglenook to 1st floor.

BOUNDARY WALL, GATEPIERS, GATES, WELLHEAD: snecked red sandstone rubble boundary walls; low rubble quadrant wall with ashlar balustrade; fluted and banded square piers with ball finials, fine 2-leaf wrought-iron gates of curvilinear design with fleur-de-lis finials.

Wellhead; low circular well with simple wrought-iron overthrow wellhead, similar curvilinear design to lintel with fleur-de-lis finial.

Statement of Special Interest

Now in use as a drug rehabilitation centre. Built for James Allan, provision merchant. Almost a landmark in Upper Helensburgh, Red Towers is an imposing building with a tall, steeply pitched, French Chateau style roof and varied skyline. The entrance porch, ashlar dormer, and other details look to the Scottish 17th century, while the use of half-timbering is a clear reference to Norman Shaw's Old English style. Leiper again uses Scottish 17th century architecture for inspiration for the interior decoration. Well preserved, the only addition being the stair blocks to the rear dating from when the house was alterd for use as a residential nursing home for the aged. Steps leading to parterre flanked by rearing unicorns.



Dumbarton District Library, Dean of Guild Drawings for Helensburgh

(Box 1895-1899). John Hume "THE SCOTTISH HOUSES OF WILLIAM LEIPER" (1992).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 22/08/2019 00:05