Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

GREAT GLEN HYDRO ELECTRIC SCHEME, INVERGARRY POWER STATION, INCLUDING BOUNDARY WALL, RAILINGS AND GATESLB6846

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
29/05/1985
Local Authority
Highland
Planning Authority
Highland
Parish
Kilmonivaig
NGR
NH 31914 1297
Coordinates
231914, 801297

Description

Gratton and McLean (architects), 1950-51. Deep single storey roughly 4-bay rectangular-plan power station, with vented attic storey. Set on site bounded to N by low cliff-line and to S by main A82 road. Random rubble with cast concrete margins and dressings. NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: sunken elevation with small court to front containing switching gear. Large vehicular access door of panelled teak to right with small rectangular window above. 3 long multi-pane windows to left (S); all flanked by 2 small rectangular vents. Continuous canopy above with narrow rectangular horizontal vents beneath simulating attic storey. S ELEVATION: symmetrical 3 bays with rectangular windows set beneath horizontal vents with continuous canopy above. SW (REAR) ELEVATION: horizontal openings to attic set under continuous canopy. NW ELEVATION: integrated with quarried hillside edge.

Predominantly small pane metal glazing in painted metal surrounds with some hopper top openings. Recessed flat platform roof with integrated rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: predominantly plain functional interior with single large turbine hall. Large overhead gantry crane with piers and gantries to either side of turbine hall. Turbine deeply recessed in turbine pit.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATES: sunken court to east masked by roughly coped random wall adjacent to A82. Curved quadrants forming entrance flanking circular gate piers. Cast-iron gates with North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board logo to centre.

Statement of Special Interest

Invergarry power station is a good example of a medium sized power station, of unusual design with sunken front court, and is a key part of the Great Glen hydro electric scheme, one of the major post-war hydro electric developments by the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board (NoSHEB). The design is unusual and the use of a sunken front courtyard ensures that the power station is almost entirely integrated into the landscape with a low single storey 3-bay elevation presented to the road. The design also uses local stone to further integrate it with its setting.

The scheme played a key role in the realisation of the social agenda of NoSHEB by providing power to remote north highland communities and stimulating economic regeneration. Great Glen is a good example of a number of schemes developed in Scotland by the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board (NoSHEB), formed after 1943 as a nationalised body to oversee the development of Scotland's resources for water power. The scheme played a key role in the realisation of the social agenda of NoSHEB by providing power to a remote community. Power generated on schemes in the southern Highlands, such as Tummel (see separate listings) was exported via the grid to the central belt, the profit from which subsidised the provision of power to remote north Highland communities and stimulated economic regeneration. Under the leadership of eminent chairman Sir Tom Johnston the board undertook developments throughout Highland Scotland and his aspirations saw the development of schemes in locations such as Loch Dubh near Ullapool and Storr Lochs on Skye. Johnstone's social aspirations and wider wishes to reinvigorate the economy of the Highlands ensured that schemes in remote areas formed a key part of the NoSHEB development plan.

All of the developments carried out by NoSHEB were subject to parliamentary approval and objections on the grounds of scenic amenity were common. In order to meet these objections the board appointed a panel of architectural advisers which included Reginald Fairlie (1883-1952), James Shearer (1881-1962) and Harold Ogle Tarbolton (1869-1947), appointed in 1943. Initially the role of the panel was to adjudicate on competition entries for designs, but by 1947 it had become one of designers. The panel had little control over the functional form of the buildings, as they left this to engineers, but they did influence the appearance and the style of the designs. The rigid views on the roles of engineers and architects during the design process resulted in the development of a style which can be characterised as vernacular modernism. This style is characteristic of many NoSHEB buildings and is a direct product of the strict role which engineers and architects played in the design process and of the increasing desire to harmonise buildings with the landscape.

Early in the life of the board, following the death of Tarbolton in 1947, and Fairlie's death relatively soon after in 1952, Shearer was able to exert more control on the direction of the architectural style. In line with increasing public concerns over the impact of developments on scenic amenity by the early to mid 1950s the designs for the board began to move away from the confident classical modernism under the control of James Shearer.

Similar concerns are expressed by Gratton and McLean in their design for Invergarry with the use of a sunken court integrating the building directly into the landscape. The use of long louvered vents as part of the design is also evident at Quoich power station indicating that the practice may have been responsible for a number of commissions on the Great Glen scheme. Gratton and McLean were an architectural practice who worked predominantly in school, church and bank architecture, including alterations to the Royal bank of Scotland headquarters at Dundas House, Edinburgh (see separate listing) and the design for Castlemilk West Church in Glasgow.

(List description updated as part of Hydro Electric Power thematic 2011)

References

Bibliography

National Archives of Scotland (NAS), Ref: NSE North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Collection (1943 -1990); NAS, Ref: NSE1 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Minutes (1943-1990); NAS, Ref NSE2 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Annual Reports (1943-1990); 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); Emma Wood, The Hydro Boys (2002) p84; J Miller, The Dam Builders: Power from the Glens, (2002) p84: Siobhan MacConnachie, James Shearer and the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board, Architectural Heritage, XIV, (2003); Scottish Hydro Electric, Power From The Glens, (2000) p14; Miers, M, The Western Seaboard: an Illustrated Architectural Guide (2008), p53.

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.

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