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Bute, Rothesay, Ardbeg, Ardbeg Road, General

General View

Site Name Bute, Rothesay, Ardbeg, Ardbeg Road, General

Classification General View

Alternative Name(s) Port Bannatyne

Canmore ID 179996

Site Number NS06NE 69

NGR NS 08379 66406

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Rothesay
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Buteshire


Characterisation (19 July 2010)

This site falls within the Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character which was defined as part of the Rothesay Urban Survey Project, 2010. The text below relates to the whole area.

Historical Development and Topography

Like most of coastal Rothesay, the area of Ardbeg is largely linear in form, making use of the flat coastal area inland from Ardbeg Point. Further inland, the form of the area follows the underlying topography uphill along Ardmory Road.

As with other outlying areas of Rothesay, Ardbeg expanded as a result of the post-1870 tourist boom which developed the coast as overspill for Rothesay. This desire to live by the coast spread development along the shore on Marine Place rather than Ardbeg Road for the more affluent residents. However, later development grew up on Ardbeg Road and Ardmory Road in the form of tenements and four-in-a-block properties, allowing a higher density of population to reside in the area.

On the whole, plot sizes are smaller than those within the adjacent Port Bannatyne Expansion Area of Townscape Character. However, there is a mix of plot sizes within Ardbeg, with larger plots to the south and along Marine Place plus the western side of Ardbeg Road. The later development and tenements on Ardbeg Road have smaller plot sizes as land availability decreased.

Although there have been little or no definable planned improvements in Ardbeg, land was sold off to develop the shoreline where the demand was high and consequently there are blocks of late 19th century semi-detached houses of a uniform style on Marine Place which have been carried out to the same design, probably by the same architect and builder. There is also a definable development of late 19th/early 20th century single-storeyed cottages on Wyndham Park and Road which remain mostly unaltered.

Overall, there has been little infilling or redevelopment of plots in the Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character. The main area where there has been 20th century infilling is in the area around the bowling green and to the north side of Ardbeg Road. A small cluster of timber-clad local authority houses dating from the interwar period between 1920 and 1944 can be found on Wyndham Park, while there are later 1950s local authority blocks at Nos 62-66 and 74 A-F Ardbeg Road and Nos 1-32 Watson Place. In the late 20th/early 21st century, a handful of bungalows have been built on Ardmory Road and Ardbeg Road.

Present Character

Most of Ardbeg’s character stems from its development as part of the overspill for Rothesay’s tourist boom in the 19th century. This has resulted in larger detached and semi-detached houses built on the shoreline, taking advantage of the views, but also higher density developments inland in the form of tenements, semi-detached and four-in-a-block properties of varying scales and levels of decorative detailing.

One example of Ardbeg’s early origins survives at No 73-75 Ardbeg Road. This fairly plain whitewashed mostly-two-storeyed property’s appearance suggests that it may originally have been a laird’s house or farmhouse dating from the later 18th century. Map evidence from the late 19th century shows that it was originally known as ‘Mount Pleasant’. Apart from this property, the earliest properties in Ardbeg date from the early 19th century – a few cottages on Marine Place and handful of villas, now flatted, towards the southern end of Ardbeg Road.

Although mostly the product of a widespread expansion in the mid- to late 19th century, there is a mix of units from larger plots with large detached houses to tenements with small communal garden areas to the front and rear. Most buildings are two-storeyed though there are three-storeyed tenements to the northern end of the area, such as Nos 1-12 The Terrace, as well as to the south end of Ardbeg Road at Nos 1 and 6-10, while No 31 is four-storeyed. Shoreline development is mostly one-and-a-half or two-storeyed.

While the style of buildings in the area is, on the whole, fairly typical of the period that they were built, there are some features which distinguish Ardbeg from other areas in the town. Some of the shoreline villas have steeply pitched gables to the front elevation, others have corbelling to the gables above upper floor windows. There are some examples of the decorative woodwork and ironwork which is prevalent throughout the town and which is a symbol of the property owner’s affluence at the time of building. This is particularly notable at Nos 19 and 22 Marine Place. These single-storey-plus-attic houses date from c.1865 and have plain (No 19) and foliate design (No 22) timber bargeboards, window boxes, balustrades and finialled gables. Further south on Marine Place, the late 19th century Nos 2 (Mossbank), 7 (Millerston House) and 8 (Aros-na-Mara) display fine examples of cast ironwork with decorative columned porches.

While most of the street furniture in the Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character is modern, there is a small red lamp post in front of No 25 Wyndham Road. This is an example of a historic ‘Provost Light’. These lamps were erected in towns across Scotland to denote the residences of Provosts of Town Councils. A pair of lamps were placed on either side of the entrance to the Provost’s house, and remained in place as long as he held office. One light was removed once he retired and remained in place while he lived. This is a rare surviving example, though another exists outside No 4 Battery Place, in the East Bay and Serpentine Area of Townscape Character.

Ardbeg has a mostly residential function, with associated uses such as shops and Post Office, as well as a bowling green/club dating from the mid-19th century. Some of the larger late 19th century detached and semi-detached houses have been flatted in the late 20th century, or have become guest houses and holiday accommodation – a reminder of the area’s former function and raison d’être.

Information from RCAHMS (LK), 19th July 2010


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