Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority
John F Bateman, 1856-9; extended 1895-1900, James M Gale; heightened 1919 (probably J R Sutherland) (see Notes for details on sequence of alterations). Pair of oval intake basins within sluice / retaining wall projecting into loch. Coursed bull-faced sandstone, possibly with mass concrete core.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: battered sluice / retaining wall projecting into loch with canted sides; parapet and broad, flagged walkway to top of retaining wall with 8 sluice valves (3 to W basin, 5 to E basin) dated 1900 by Glenfield & Kennedy of Kilmarnock; sluice openings at base of wall between stepped buttresses to inner side. Stone steps at both ends to 2 oval intake basins at lower level bisected by central gangway containing filter mechanisms. Round-arched exit channel to each basin with prominent voussoirs, heavy pilaster buttresses and shallow pediments over commemorative plaques; iron grill to each opening bearing Glasgow coat of arms. Rubble retaining wall to land side. Circa 1900 tubular cast-iron railings to all footways with ornamental flower motifs to heads of uprights; circa 1860 cast-iron railings with square-plan tapered uprights at top of land-side retaining wall. Retaining walls to loch extending to E and W of intake. Subterranean chamber to W of intake.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with Royal Cottage, Boathouse and Jetty.
When seen from the loch, this appears to be an unassuming structure, lying low to the water. It is only when seen from inside the enclosure that the magnificence and strength of the engineering here can be appreciated. Over 100 million gallons of water can pass through the two intakes every day and no photograph can do justice the awe-inspiring quality of this structure. The power of the water as it passes through the intake basins is truly spectacular and the continued crispness of the masonry is a testament to the quality of the workmanship. This structure is not only a magnificent set piece of civil engineering, but, with the close attention to architectural detail, is emblematic of the supreme achievement of the Loch Katrine water supply system as a whole.
The Glasgow Corporation Water Works system, which brings water down to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, was admired internationally as an engineering marvel when it was opened in 1860. It was one of the most ambitious civil engineering schemes to have been undertaken in Europe since Antiquity, employing the most advanced surveying and construction techniques available, including the use of machine moulding and vertical casting technologies to produce the cast-iron pipes. The scheme represents the golden age of municipal activity in Scotland and not only provided Glasgow with fresh drinking water, thereby paving the way for a significant increase in hygiene and living standards, but also a source of hydraulic power that was indispensable to the growth of Glasgow's industry as a cheap and clean means of lifting and moving heavy plant in docks, shipyards and warehouses. The civic pride in this achievement is visible in every structure connected with the scheme, from the neatly-detailed gates and railings along its route, to the massive masonry structures and iron troughs that carry the conduit and, in most cases, have withstood without failure or noticeable deterioration the daily pressure of many millions of gallons of water for well over 100 years.
Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Stewart (1810-66) was the driving force behind the implementation of a municipally-owned water scheme to provide clean water to Glasgow's rapidly increasing population. Loch Katrine was identified as a suitable supply and after some objections from various parties, an Act of Parliament authorising the scheme was passed in 1855. The scheme was built in two main phases following this Act and another 1885. The 1855 scheme, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and was fully operational by 1860, had been designed to allow for significant expansion as demand increased, and this work was carried in the 20 years following the opening. The 1885 Act allowed a second aqueduct to be built, which followed a slightly shorter course than the earlier scheme. The capacity of the second aqueduct was also expanded during the first half of the 20th century.
John Frederick Bateman (1810-1889) was chosen as the engineer for the scheme and construction work commenced in 1856. Bateman was to become one of the world's most eminent water engineers, and worked on a number of other water supply schemes in Britain, Europe and Asia. He was assisted by James Morrison Gale (1830-1905), who on the completion of the initial scheme in 1859 was appointed Water Engineer for the City of Glasgow, a post he held till 1902. Gale was responsible for over-seeing the incremental expansion of the first scheme during the 1860s and '70s and the building of the second aqueduct from 1885 onwards.
This intake comprises 3 periods of building. The original 3-sluice intake, the basin closest to Royal Cottage, is shown in historic photographs held by Scottish Water. Work for the second, 5-sluice basin, which followed the 1885 Act and was completed in 1900, involved the raising of the water level of the Loch, which in turn necessitated the heightening of the walls of the 1855 basin by 5 courses of stone (the aqueduct arch seems to have been left untouched). In 1919 the level of the loch was raised again, in conjunction with the opening of the Loch Arklet top-up scheme and the outer sluice / retaining wall was raised by another 5 courses. The steps down to the basins are divided into 2 flights and the top flight leads down to the 1885 level of the wall.
The retaining wall that extends to the W of the intake was built as a jetty for the 1885 extension and was back-filled with the rubble produced from its construction.
Previously listed as 'Loch Katrine, near Royal Cottage, aqueduct intakes, jetty and boathouse, retaining walls and railings (former Glasgow Corporation Water Works)'. Upgraded B to A in 2008 following the thematic review of Loch Katrine water supply system in 2008. Jetty and boathouse incorporated in Royal Cottage list description at the same time.