Circa 1800. Refurbished 2013. 2-storey, 3-bay, former public house with single storey ranges to each side (that to right shorter with piended roof) set immediately adjacent to Lock 21 of the Forth and Clyde Canal to the rear and directly onto the main Maryhill Road to the front elevation. Predominantly rendered sandstone rubble walls with exposed random stone to main gables and central rear elevation, moulded surrounds to ground floor windows, simple eaves course. Graded grey slate roof with stone skews and corniced stone stacks with plain cans. Non-traditional plate glass glazing with security grilles.
The interior was seen in 2013. The interior was fully remodelled in 2013 to form a plain, serviceable open-plan retail space with a suspended ceiling structure which gives no current access to the upper floor.
Statement of Special Interest
The former Whitehouse Inn on Maryhill Road was built around the time of the construction of the west side of the Forth and Clyde Canal in the late 18th century. The Forth and Clyde Canal is the oldest and the longest canal in Scotland and was completed in 1790. The Whitehouse Inn was built as a public house for those using the canal network and is sited at the head of the Maryhill Locks, near where the main canal joins the Port Dundas spur. The former inn, stands alone with no immediate neighbours on a prominent site in Maryhill and is an important early historical landmark in the area. It has particular interest for its association with the Forth and Clyde canal which is the oldest and longest canal in Scotland.
The canal and a number of other associated structures are a Scheduled Monument. See Scheduled Monument No 6773 for full details.
The Maryhill area began to develop around 1775 as a village to the north part of the Gairgraid Estate, which was owned by Robert Graham and his wife Mary Hill. The Whitehouse Inn is thought to be the first building built to the west side of this point once the canal was restarted circa 1785. The Maryhill area subsequently expanded significantly as a result of the completed canal network and later associated industry in the later 19th century.
The Ordnance Survey Town Plan of Glasgow 1892-94 shows the building in its current form with the two ranges to each side. This map also illustrates that the steps and front door of the building are at the canal (south) side of the building, illustrating that at the time the canal remained the busier traffic route with the road to the north offering less trade potential. The 2013 works removed a previously uncovered timber sign over the door to the roadside that read 'Owen Jones' who was known to have run the premises from 1911.
The idea to link the east and west coasts of Scotland by a waterway was to avoid the difficult sea trade route around the north coast and was first considered in the reign of Charles II (1660-85). Surveys were carried out in 1726, 1762 and then in 1763-4 by Yorkshire Engineer John Smeaton (1724-1792) who proceeded to design and oversee its first stage of construction. First called the Great Canal it was an impressive feat of engineering at 38.75 miles long and rising to 156 feet above sea level near the centre through 20 locks to the east side and 19 to the west.
The building of the canal was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1768 with an estimated cost of £150,000. Construction began under Smeaton at the east coast in June 1768 but financial difficulties by 1775 meant that it stalled at the east side of Glasgow. Robert Mackell took over as the principal on-site engineer in 1777 but work stalled again and was not resumed until 1785 when a government grant of £50,000 allowed work to continue under Robert Whitworth (1734-1799). Whitworth was an experienced canal engineer from England who managed the project until completion when it opened to trade in July 1790. In 1791 the 3 mile branch link into central Glasgow at Port Dundas was opened.
The water for the canal was provided to the highest point by the Townhead Reservoir near Kilsyth and later by the Monkland Canal. As the canal was designed to link the two coasts it had to carry seagoing vessels. As a result of this it was relatively large at 2.4 metres deep and 19.2 metres wide in most places, and all the bridges were designed to clear the waterway to allow boat's masts to pass through. The bridges were first built as timber 'drawbridge' designs but by the 19th century these had been replaced by timber and cast-iron 'bascule bridges' which worked like a drawbridge and were lifted by hand-operated gearing. The two most major engineering projects were the aqueducts; the single-arched Kirkintilloch example by Smeaton of 1772, and the four-arched Kelvin viaduct by Whitworth of 1787-9. The latter was the largest engineering work of its kind in Britain when built.
The canal became an integral element in the industrial landscape in Scotland with the most popular cargo being coal from the ever developing mining industry in the central belt. The Canal Company allowed beneficial rates for the transport of coal for the collieries through whose land the canal was built however transport costs for other materials such as grain were charged higher and therefore more profitable. Manufacturing centres also rose up around the canal to service it and subsequently communities grew alongside the Canal in the early 19th century.
There was a significant drop in income for the canals from 1840 onwards with the introduction of the railways. The Canal had other subsidiary business interests which continued after its usage declined such as providing waste water to local industries and even to the railways who had become their main competitors in the later 19th century. A subsequent Act of Parliament in 1867 authorised the sale of the Forth and Clyde and the Monkland Canal to the Caledonian Railway, who ran both transport systems until the railway became more profitable and the canals less used.
The Forth and Clyde canal was closed in 1963 due to lack of use and lay unused until 2002 when it was reopened following the 'Millennium Link Project', a major refurbishment scheme costing £84 million which required re-dredging the canal and raising the height of later road bridges. The project also reconnected the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals by designing the 'Falkirk Wheel' a major engineering project and the world's first and only rotating boat lift. The wheel was built to replace the 11 locks at Camelon, which were dismantled in 1933, by rotating the boats in paired gondolas to raise or lower them 35 metres. The canal is now used primarily by the leisure and tourist industry.
Listed as part of Scottish Canals estate review (2013-14).