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Glencorse Barracks, Clock Tower, Penicuik

Description: Glencorse Barracks, Clock Tower

Category: A
Date Listed: 22 January 1971
Historic Scotland Building ID: 44614

OS Grid Coordinates: 324748, 661993
Latitude/Longitude: 55.8453, -3.2033

Location: A701, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QH

Locality: Penicuik
County: Midlothian
Country: Scotland
Postcode: EH26 0QH

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Listing Text

Circa 1810. 4-stage octagonal clock tower containing prison cells/ guard rooms. Squared and coursed, stugged sandstone, base course, raised cills, cill band to 4th stage.
Originally with 4 doors on alternate faces, 1 now blocked as window, 2 others brick-blocked internally. Rectangular, tablet-like windows now blocked with stone or brick, with small ventilation louvres, to each stage of alternate flanks and above each stage where doors at ground, those to 4th stage under the eaves with remnants of former bars. Clock (now modern) fill oculi on 4 of the faces where door/ former door at ground.

Polygonal roof (almost conical), flattened at apex with flagpole, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters.

INTERIOR: stone spiral staircase to centre with cells radiating off. Timber floors. Boarded doors. Water tank now suitably housed.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Groome's GAZETTEER; THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (1843) pp317-8; C McWilliam LOTHIAN (1978) p218; J Thomas MIDLOTHIAN (1995) p64.

Formerly listed under the name 'The Keep' (a separate building now also listed separately). The clock tower prison presumably dates from soon after 1803-4 when Greenlaw House was given over for conversion to a prison for French prisoners of war, or possibly from the wider development as a military prison after 1813. An equivalent octagonal structure, but taller, exists at Perth Prison, similarly for Prisoners of War, designed by Robert Reid. The Glencorse tower was previously encircled by a timber-lean-to at ground, possibly containing stores. The prison was complete by 1813, accommodating 6000 prisoners, the work costing '100,000 (Groome). A plan showing observation walkways / prison blocks radiating from a principal terrace indicated the form of the provision which possibly survived the conversion to the general military prison for Scotland, from 1845, but not the alterations and extensions from 1875-77 to serve the central brigade depot for southeast Scotland. It now houses the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) and has been subject to further demolitions since the end of National Service. Nothing remains of Greenlaw House, though the cellars of the Officers' Mess block to the SE may conceivably owe their existence to this 17th century mansion. The tower is part of an A Group with the keep, lodges, gates and boundary walls, the barrack block, the chapel, terrace and stores.

Source: Historic Scotland

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.