Sir Alexander Gibb consulting engineer, Merz and McLellan Electrical engineers; E M Carmichael, Office of Public Works; dated 1934. 3-storey, roughly 4-bay, rectangular-plan power station in Classical Modern style with prominent gridded arrangement of small-pane windows. Painted reinforced concrete. Recessed eaves course with further recessed parapet above. Lugged doorway surround inscribed above with GLENLEE POWER STATION 1934. Gridded pattern of small-pane windows in recessed surrounds (tripartite to centre bays and single bay return and bipartite to flanking bays). Regular fenestration of small-pane rectangular windows at lower block to rear (W). Large doorway off centre to rear with timber panelled roller door.
INTERIOR: plain interior composed predominantly of single open space with large roller crane on steel gantry. Some offices to left (SE), including later alterations to form control room for the Galloway Scheme.
BRIDGE: reinforced concrete twin arched bridge over tailrace with plain concrete parapet.
Statement of Special Interest
Glenlee power station is a significant example of a hydroelectric power station and was an important part of phase I of the highly influential Galloway Hydropower Scheme. The station utilises water from a separate catchment to the rest of the scheme, created by Clatteringshaws Dam (see separate listing), before feeding it back into Loch Ken and on to Tongland (see separate listing). The Galloway scheme was a significant technological achievement and the first example of run of the river technology to be successfully utilised on a large scale in Scotland.
The architectural design of Glenlee is a fusion of the necessary engineering requirements of a large commercial power station and an understated modernist classical design. The clean lines and minimal architectural articulation are characteristic of the modern style. The stark roofline and rhythmic articulation of the façade characterise the modern, dynamic attitude with which hydroelectricity was viewed in this period.
The development of the Galloway Hydroelectric 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 Alcan ' see separate listings) without a national strategic policy framework is groundbreaking as is the consistency of high quality aesthetic and engineering design across all of the schemes.
The Galloway scheme was influential on the future development of hydropower in Scotland. After initial opposition to the parliamentary act granting powers for the completion of the scheme it was approved with a number of safeguards on the landscape and amenity of the area. This necessitated the high quality design of both power stations and dams which characterises the Galloway scheme. This condition also proved influential during the drafting of the Hydroelectric (Scotland) Act of 1943 where the visual impact of future schemes was a primary concern.
Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners was a pioneering engineering company, responsible for a number of high profile works in Scotland, including the Kincardine Bridge (see separate listing). The company was founded by Alexander Gibb in 1921 and quickly became the UK's largest firm of consulting engineers with numerous international clients. Gibb was personally involved in the design and construction of the Galloway scheme, and the pioneering nature of the Galloway development is due, in large part, to his abilities as an engineer. Merz and McLellan were pioneering British electrical engineers and developed a high profile practice, working on a number of power stations across Britain, including Dunstan B, as well as completing hydroelectric work in Italy in the 1980s.
(Reviewed as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Survey, 2011)