1805-1810 2-storey, 3-bay symmetrical rectangular-plan house with 1780-1800 single storey, 3-bay rectangular-plan cottage joined at right angles, on raised ground overlooking the Caledonian Canal and railway bridge. Squared and coursed sandstone exposed pinning to mortar joints, droved ashlar long and short dressings. Harled to side elevations and cottage. Central door with rectangular fanlight. Two single storey outbuildings adjoined to rear of house and cottage and lean-to extension to north elevation of house, all rendered.
Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Piended, slate roof with broad eaves to house with harled and coped central stack. Pitched, slate roof to cottage and tall, harled and coped end stack to west gable.
Statement of Special Interest
Dunolly House comprises a late 18th century vernacular cottage and early 19th century 2-storey house. The building is strategically placed overlooking Clachnaharry lock, the second lock on the east end of the Caledonian Canal and the first lock to be completed and its setting adds interest to the building as an indication of its former functional relationship with the canal. The building retains its piended roofline, central stack and has good stonework detailing. Internally the building retains some fireplaces and window shutters.
Prior to the construction of the canal in 1802 Clachnaharry was a fishing village and the earlier cottage is typical of a fisherman's dwelling. Because of its strategic location the cottage was bought by the Caledonian Canal Commissioners prior to the construction of the canal in 1802 and the 2-storey house added. The ground floor was used as offices for the canal company and Thomas Telford stayed in the upper floor rooms during his brief visits overseeing the construction of the canal. (Canmore, 2013) The building and its front garden are evident on the Great Reform Act Plan of Inverness (1832) and following the construction of the first railway swing bridge in 1862 the setting of the property has not been greatly altered. After the completion of the canal in 1822 it is likely that it accommodated the lock keeper and the canal offices were moved to 43 and 45 Clachnaharry Road (later the post office).
The whole of the Caledonian Canal is a Scheduled Monument which identifies it as being of national importance to Scotland. For this section of the Caledonian Canal see Scheduled Monument No 5292.
The primary role of a lock keeper was to maintain and operate the lock and cottages were constructed adjacent to the locks for convenience. As is evident at Dunolly, cottages were often set in garden to grow vegetables and keep poultry and animals.
The Caledonian Canal is one of five canals surviving in Scotland but is unique among them as being the only one entirely funded by public money. The canal was part of a wider infrastructure initiative across the Highlands to facilitate trade and the growth of industry and, most importantly for the Government, to tackle the emigration problem resulting from the Highland Clearances, by providing much-needed employment. The experienced engineer Thomas Telford submitted a report in 1802 to Government commissioners which detailed the route and size of the canal. The canal connects Inverness in the north to Corpach, near Fort William in the west, by linking four lochs: Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. The total length of the canal is 60 miles, but only 22 miles are man-made.
Built to take sea-going ships, including the 32-gun and 44-gun frigates of the Royal Navy, the Caledonian Canal was designed on a much larger scale than other canals in Britain and the locks were the largest ever constructed at that time. This combined with the remoteness of the location and the variable ground conditions, make it a great feat of engineering and construction.
Telford was appointed principal engineer to the commission with William Jessop as consulting engineer. Although work began in 1804 rising costs and the scale of the project resulted in slow progress and the first complete journey was made on 23-24 October 1822. Whilst the Canal was constructed for commercial use it was never a commercial success. Since its opening it was beset by problems and had to be closed for repairs and improvements in the 1840s. However the canal became popular with passenger steamers with tourism increasing following a visit by Queen Victoria on 16 September 1873.
Category changed from B to C and listed building record updated as part of the Scottish Canals estate review (2013-14).