Listed Building

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GRAMPIAN HYDRO ELECTRIC SCHEME, TUMMEL POWER STATIONLB51715

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
11/02/2011
Local Authority
Perth And Kinross
Planning Authority
Perth And Kinross
Parish
Dull
NGR
NN 76360 59013
Coordinates
276360, 759013

Description

William Halcrow consulting engineer, Balfour Beatty engineers and contractors, 1931-33. Large 2-storey and attic, roughly 7-bay rectangular-plan power station in plain classical style with projecting centre bays and wings. Painted render with painted rock faced long and short quoins. Bays 2 and 5 recessed. Full-height pilasters; banded string course at 2nd floor and deeply corniced eaves course. Large fielded panels to returns at advanced bays. Deep ground floor with arcaded and keystoned shouldered arched multi-pane windows (not full-height to terminal bays). Bi-partite multi-pane windows at 1st floor with advanced cills.

WEST ELEVATION: roughly 5 bays with lower recessed single bay to right (S). Large mahogany door roughly to centre in keystoned shouldered arched surround, flanked by tall keystoned round arched windows (paired to north); rectangular multi-pane windows above. Similar windows to recessed bay set in recessed surrounds.

N ELEVATION: predominantly plain elevation with some corniced projecting blocks, pilasters and fielded panels. Row of multi-pane rectangular windows at 1st floor in recessed surrounds.

EAST ELEVATION: similar to that at W but with large multi-pane window in place of mahogany door.

Predominantly small multi-pane glazing in cast-iron frames. Cast-iron rainwater goods integrated with cornice.

INTERIOR: plain interior with large roller crane on steel gantry to main double height space. Some steel gantries to rear creating upper floors. Original control panel to upper floor at rear integrated with tiled floor.

Statement of Special Interest

The power station at Tummel Bridge is an outstanding example of the pioneering use of high-head hydropower for public supply and is prominently sited on the shores of Loch Tummel adjacent to the B846 road and opposite the Old Bridge of Tummel (see separate listing). The design of the power station in a simple classical style and with a bold outline is in contrast to the setting against a tree-lined slope and loch, encapsulating the forthright concept of modernity and progress which characterised the development of hydroelectricity in this period. The power station utilises water from the Dunalistair dam which is brought by aqueduct and pipeline to the station some 3 miles from the dam. The power station contains the original two turbines which are in a vertical orientation and are undershot. The power station also contains the original control and monitoring systems.

The architectural treatment of the building is a fusion between the functional and industrial requirements of power generation with a classical modern design. The uncluttered roofline gives the building a stark and dominating profile.

The Grampian Hydroelectric Scheme was the first major public supply development which utilised high head reservoir storage technology (as opposed to run of the river technology as employed at Galloway (see separate listings). The geography of the Tummel valley was well suited to the development of a hydroelectric scheme, but local demand for electricity was insufficient to justify its completion. The development of the national grid in the mid 1920s meant that power generated in the Highlands could be exported to the populous central belt. The Central Electricity Board guaranteed a market for the Grampian Power Company providing the impetus for the development of the scheme. The relatively unforgiving terrain made construction difficult, and significant development of road infrastructure was required, including a new bridge at Tummel to allow access for the transportation of major pieces of structure from the nearest rail link at Struan.

The development of the Tummel and Rannoch scheme predates the 1943 Hydroelectric (Scotland) Act which formalised the development of Hydroelectricity in Scotland and led to the founding of the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board. Those developments which predated the 1943 act were developed by individual companies as a response to particular market and topographic conditions. The completion of a number of schemes (including Galloway, Grampian and those associated with the British Aluminium Company) without a national strategic policy framework is groundbreaking, as is the consistency of high quality aesthetic and engineering design across all of the schemes.

Sir William Halcrow was one of the foremost engineers of the twentieth century, and was highly experienced in the development of hydroelectricity having served his apprenticeship with Thomas Meik and Sons who were responsible for both Kinlochleven and Lochaber water power schemes on behalf of the British Aluminium Company (see separate listings). His work on the Grampian scheme came in between the Kinlochleven and Lochaber developments, and his experience in developing the Kinlochleven scheme can clearly be seen in the highly efficient pioneering nature of the Tummel Garry development. Halcrow's association with hydropower and water engineering was longstanding and after 1943 he went on to work on a number of projects for the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board including the Glen Affric and Glen Morriston schemes. The company also completed work elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

(Listed 2011 as part of Hydro Electric Power Thematic Survey)

References

Bibliography

Peter Payne, The Hydro: a study of the development of the major hydro-electric schemes undertaken by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, 1988, p.20; Emma Wood, The Hydro Boys, 2002, p.52; J Miller, The dam builders: power from the glens, 2002.

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Printed: 17/11/2018 19:06