Additions and alterations to Arddarroch, Finnart

M239 Additions and alterations to Arddarroch, Finnart

Address: Arrochar Road, Finnart G84 OEY
Date: 1904–5
Client: Mr Brooman White
Authorship: Authorship category 1 (Mackintosh) (Mackintosh)

Photograph of E. porch at Arddarroch


Built originally for John McVicar, a Glasgow merchant, Arddarroch was designed by William Burn in 1838 and enlarged in 1846–7 by David Bryce. 1 A rambling, many-gabled house in a fine setting beside Loch Long, it was acquired in 1858 by John White of the Glasgow chemical manufacturers John & James White. 2 In 1868 White married Amelia Susannah Brooman; her only son by her previous marriage, Richard Charles Brooman, assumed the name Richard Charles Brooman White and subsequently lived at Arddarroch. 3 His mother died in 1903, and the following year Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh were engaged to work on the house. Presumably Brooman White had inherited it, although curiously the architects' job book and cash book both appear to record the client's name as 'Mrs Brooman White'. 4

Extent of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's work

The nature and extent of Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's work at Arddarroch is not clear from documentary sources, and partial demolition in the later 20th century has made it difficult to identify exactly what they did. The minutes of the County Council committee which approved their plans are not specific, mentioning only 'additions ... and alterations'. 5 In the job-book entry, successful tenders amounting to over £1800 are recorded for mason, joiner, plumber, plaster and slater work, and the payment of over £22 in measurer's fees suggests that this was the quantity of work actually carried out. However, recorded payments to tradesmen and suppliers amount to little more than £100. The probable explanation for this discrepancy is that Brooman White paid the contractors directly, and not through the architects.

£1800 is a substantial sum, and the job was clearly a significant one. Evidence from maps and old photographs suggests that it involved the reconstruction of the E. wing and the addition of a parallel range of outbuildings to the N., separated from the house by a service yard. The O.S. map of Dunbartonshire surveyed in 1860 shows the house to have been L-shaped, consisting of a long main block overlooking the loch with an E. wing at right angles on the landward side. 6 A photograph taken in 1885 shows, indistinctly, that the E. wing was single-storey, or at any rate lower than the rest of the house, while a later photograph – undated, but seemingly early 20th-century – shows it raised to two full storeys plus an attic, and pierced by a ground-floor archway. 7 The archway presumably led to the service yard and outbuildings, not shown on the 1898 O.S. map, but present on the one surveyed in 1914. 8

Photograph of Arddarroch in 1885Photograph of Arddarroch in early 20th century

All this work has been demolished, along with the N. end of the main block, but the early 20th-century photograph shows the reconstructed E. wing to have been in exactly the same style as the 19th-century house: random rubble walls, square-headed sash windows, and deep eaves with rafter ends exposed.

Photograph of E. wing at Arddarroch

Involvement of Mackintosh

Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh's job-book entry is entirely written in Mackintosh's hand, which strongly suggests that he was the partner in charge of work at Arddarroch. 9 It can probably be identified as the house at Loch Goil mentioned in a list of his domestic works published in 1909 (it lies close to the mouth of Loch Goil, on the opposite side of Loch Long). 10

The only known drawing connected with the project is certainly by Mackintosh and is annotated in his hand. 11 Dated January 1904, it is a design for a new porch, and in general form it is close to his contemporary Infants' entrance at Scotland Street School: it has side walls with a band of leaded glazing along the top; a curved roof of lead-covered timber (semicircular in section, where the Scotland Street one is segmental); and a stone front with carved ornament. Although the Arddarroch design has classical details rather than the Viennese-influenced decoration of the Scotland Street porch, it would still have been a highly original addition to the house. There is no such porch at Arddarroch now, so either it was never built or it belonged to the demolished wing or one of the outbuildings. The photographic evidence suggests that the existing (2014) front porch was added at the same time as the reconstruction of the E. wing, presumably by Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh. It follows exactly the same formula of deep eaves and rubble walling, matching the older work. Perhaps Brooman White rejected Mackintosh's more innovative design in favour of this.

Photograph of E. porch at Arddarroch

The job-book entry indicates that 'hall grates' were supplied, implying that at least some work was carried out inside the main block. There are now no fireplaces in the entrance hall, but in the bay-windowed ground-floor room beside the former conservatory there is a mid-19th-century chimneypiece with a cream tile insert and plain steel surround to the grate, very similar to Mackintosh's work at Auchinibert of a couple of years later.

Later history

Along with the neighbouring Finnart estate to the E., Arddarroch was transformed into an oil terminal in the 1950s. 12 Today, jetties in the loch provide facilities for loading and unloading tankers, and pipes and giant storage tanks surround a truncated fragment of the house.



1: Frank Arneil Walker and Fiona Sinclair, Buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute, London: Penguin, 2000, p. 248.

2: James MacLehose, Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1886, pp. 336–8.

3: Edward Walford, County Families of the United Kingdom, London: Chatto & Windus, 1904, pp. 1059–60.

4: The Times, 7 February 1903, p. 9; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh job book, GLAHA 53062, p. 44; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 98.

5: West Dunbartonshire Archives, Dumbarton Library: DCC/2/1/1/1/7, Western District Public Health Executive Committee, 7 April 1904.

6: O.S. six-inch plan of Dunbartonshire, sheet IX, published 1865.

7: Photographs in the possession of Caroline Brooman-White (2014).

8: O.S. six-inch plan of Dunbartonshire, sheet IX N.E., published 1899; O.S. six-inch plan of Dunbartonshire, sheet N. IX, revised 1914.

9: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh job book, GLAHA 53062, pp. 44, 45.

10: George Eyre-Todd, Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, p. 124.

11: Hiroaki Kimura, 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Architectural Drawings', unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, 1982, p. 50 (M239-001).

12: Margaret S. Dilke and A. A. Templeton, eds, The Third Statistical Account of Scotland: The County of Dunbarton, Glasgow: Collins, 1959, pp. 94–5.