Listed Building

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GRAMPIAN HYDRO ELECTRIC SCHEME, RANNOCH POWER STATIONLB51716

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
Fortingall
NGR
NN 52995 58276
Coordinates
252995, 758276

Description

William Halcrow consulting engineer; Balfour Beatty engineers and contractors, 1931-33. 2-storey, 4-bay, and basement rectangular-plan power station in simple classical style set on piers above tailrace to front (S) with large arcaded arched windows at ground floor. Painted render with painted rock faced long and short quoins. Basement recessed behind pilastered and dentilled bridge over tailrace to front (S) with arcade of round arched windows. Coped base course with recessed fielded panels. Full height pilasters with fielded panels; string course and banded cill course at 1st floor. Deep corniced eaves course. Deep ground floor with arcaded and keystoned shouldered arched multi-pane windows. Bi-partite multi-pane windows at 1st floor with advanced cills.

EAST ELEVATION: roughly 3 broad bays with lower recessed single bay to right (S). Large mahogany door roughly to centre in keystoned shouldered arched surround, flanked by pilasters (deep full bay pilaster to S); shouldered arched window above with rectangular multi-pane window at 1st floor. Tall keystoned shouldered arched window to lower bay with rendered mullion.

N ELEVATION: similar to S elevation but with blind rectangular windows at ground floor and keystoned shouldered arched windows at 1st floor some with louvers. Small single storey building to right (W).

W ELEVATION: similar to that at W with window in place of door.

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

INTERIOR: plain interior with large roller crane off steel gantry to main double height space. Some steel gantries to rear creating upper floors.

Statement of Special Interest

Rannoch power forms an A-Group with the nearby Rannoch Valvehouse (see separate listing). The power station at Rannoch is an outstanding example of an early high-head hydroelectric scheme for public supply in Scotland. It is prominently sited on the shores of Loch Rannoch adjacent to the B846 road. 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 Ericht dam which is brought by aqueduct and pipeline to the station some 5 miles from the dam.

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. A similar architectural treatment is also applied to the valve-house (see separate listing) clearly tying it in both functional and stylistic terms to the power station.

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 guaranteeing an assured market for the Grampian Power Company prompting further development. The relatively unforgiving terrain made construction difficult, and significant development of road infrastructure was required, including a new bridge at Tummel to allow access from 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: 16/12/2018 01:47