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 10387 62820
210387, 662820


Dated 1861. Near-symmetrical 2-storey with basement, 4-bay classically-detailed house grouped 1-1-2 with full-height 5-light bow in penultimate bay to outer right; single bay recessed to outer left; corrugated iron lean-to addition beyond; side entrance (porte-cochere). Yellow sandstone ashlar. Raised band course at principal floor; banded basement rustication; corniced cill courses; corbelled, corniced eaves; regularly disposed anthemion parapet detailing. Raised, ashlar quoins; pilastered, corniced windows at ground; shouldered-arched surrounds at 1st floor; pilastered mullions at both floors in bowed bay.

E (GARDEN) MAIN ELEVATION: full-height bow in penultimate bay to outer right; boarded openings at basement; decorative cast-iron, bowed balcony dividing ground and 1st floors (consoled brackets); armorial panels set in frieze beneath corbelled cornice (panel dated "1861" outer right). Bipartite windows at ground and 1st floors in bay to outer right; single windows at all floors in bays to left of centre; lean-to addition recessed to outer left.

N (ENTRANCE) SIDE ELEVATION: 3-bay with single storey, 2-bay wing slightly recessed to outer right. Steps to 2-leaf timber panelled door at ground in bay to outer right of main block; plate-glass fanlight; pilastered, round-arched surround; projecting balustraded porte-cochere comprising square-plan columns, consoled cornice, decorative frieze detailing, stencilled, corniced parapet; flanking tripartite side-lights; bipartite window aligned at 1st floor. Single windows at both floors in bays at centre and outer left; single storey wing to outer right comprising single window to right of entrance, bipartite window in slightly projecting bay to outer right.

Predominantly 2-pane timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slate roof; some decorative cast-iron rainwater goods. Corniced wallhead stacks (some triple banded, panelled, square-plan flues); octagonal cans.

INTERIOR: relatively intact. Large ground floor reception rooms with Adamesque detailing. Timber panelled doors; architraved, corniced door-surrounds; boarded timber floors; timber skirting boards. Intricate plaster cornices; ceiling roses. Square- and circular-plan columns dividing rooms; some fireplaces; timber panelled shutters in place; large, decorative mirrors. Columnar hall with decorative cast-iron balustraded main stair (inserted lift shaft in place 1996). Upper floors not seen.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: coped, curved stugged sandstone walls flanking entrance; square-plan piers; pyramidal caps; gates missing.

Statement of Special Interest

Commissioned by Mr Thomas Croil, a wealthy West India Merchant from Glasgow, Balmory House was considered a "...typical example of the modern Italian style of villa architecture..." (THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF RENFREWSHIRE AND BUTESHIRE). According to Sasine records dated 1861, the feu was obtained from the Trustees of Robert Thom of Ascog, "...late cotton spinner, Rothesay", also renowned for designing a means of supplying water to the inhabitants of Greenock (see separate list entry for Meikle Ascog). The plot of land, measuring 6 acres, 3 roods and 11 poles (as measured by Andrew McDonald, a Glasgow land surveyor), was purchased for ?1140 sterling and had a feu duty of ?5 per annum. No mention is made of an architect for the house subsequently commissioned by Croil, although the records do note that he was "...bound and obliged to erect houses or other buildings of stone and lime and covered with slate on the piece of ground before disposed within 3 years from the term of entry." No businesses of any sort - leather tanning, brewing, soap or candle making, boiling oil or making bricks or tiles, were permitted on the site. Furthermore, although Croil was able to dig for freestone, limestone and whinstone "...for erecting houses, offices, walls or other buildings upon said ground", he was prohibited from selling these materials for profit. Following the devastating fire at Mount Stuart in 1877, the Marquess of Bute and his family are said to have resided at Balmory until their new house was complete. Subsequently the residence of a Mr Robert Laidlaw, the house was taken over by the Salvation Army in 1927 and renamed the Laidlaw Memorial Home. It remained in their hands until 1993 (approximately), when it once again returned to private ownership. Despite the insertion of a lift shaft and various additions, the house remains essentially intact - note the pilastered windows, shouldered-arched openings, the decorative use of cast-iron, impressive porte-cochere and banded flues. The Adamesque interior is particularly noteworthy, with much of the original still in place - intricate cornices, ceiling roses, fireplaces, timber panelled doors and shutters, various columns and decorative mirrors. With its gatelodge (see separate list entry), boundary walls and gatepiers, the estate remains complete.



SRO Sasine Records, Bute, November 1st 1861, GR/3175/126; appears on Ordnance Survey map 1863; A H Millar THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF RENFREWSHIRE AND BUTESHIRE (1889); J MacCallum "WISH YOU WERE HERE": A PICTURE POSTCARD VIEW OF EDWARDIAN BUTE p24.

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: 21/05/2019 13:32