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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 23/04/1990
  • Supplementary Information Updated: 25/07/2002


  • Local Authority: Dumfries And Galloway
  • Planning Authority: Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish: Tongland

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNX 69512 53559
  • Coordinates269512, 553559


Sir Alexander Gibb consulting engineer, Merz and McLellan Electrical engineers, Payler and Son (Glasgow) construction engineers; dated 1934. Large symmetrical roughly T-plan Classical Modern power station with detached surge tower and valve-house to N. Painted reinforced concrete.

POWER STATION: 2 storeys, 7 bays. Recessed eaves and blocking course and full-height pilasters. Central lugged doorway with 2-leaf timber doors inscribed above with TONGLAND POWER STATION, 1934. Flanked by pair of bi-partite rectangular small-pane windows. Single narrow round arched windows to outer bays, flanked by lower terminating bays with bipartite windows with pilastered transom.

N (SIDE) ELEVATION: 10 bays with 3-bay return to right (W) with arcaded ground floor to terminal bays at right (S). Slightly advanced porch in re-entrant angle to right (W); large timber door with rectangular top-lights. Continuous run of bi-partite rectangular small-pane windows to centre and left (E) separated by pilasters.

E (END) ELEVATION: 2 bays with deep basement. Windows similar to those to N elevation with two additional rectangular windows to basement.

S (REAR) ELEVATION: similar to that at N with additional tower advanced to left (W) and lower 2-bay block to far left (W). Rectangular small-pane windows to tower (bipartite to 2nd floor).

Flat roof. Cast-iron rainwater goods integrated behind blocking course to roof.

INTERIOR: plain interior to power station with double height space and large travelling crane on steel gantry. Some oak panelling to former administrative areas and entrance hall. Some wooden blockwork flooring.

VALVE-HOUSE AND SURGE TOWER: large steel water tank on continuous arcade of concrete arches to N of power station. Integrated valve-house to S (6 bays by 2 bays). Pilastered ground floor with banded base course above. Rectangular small-pane windows at ground floor with louvered rectangular openings above.

BOUNDARY WALLS: integrated with structure to front (W) elevation. Low painted concrete walls with shallow curved profile to top.

Statement of Special Interest

Tongland power station is a key component of the highly influential Galloway scheme, forming the control station for the whole scheme on its completion. The power station is prominently sited next to the A711 road and adjacent to the River Dee. 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, going to influence future developments throughout the country. Tongland power station is at the bottom of the scheme and receives water which has already been used by all of the other stations (see separate listings) to generate electricity. 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 Tongland is a fusion of the necessary engineering requirements of a large commercial power station and a finely detailed Modernist classical design. 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 aluminium smelting (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.

(Upgraded B to A July 2002; Reviewed 2011 as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Survey)



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, p. 25; Emma Wood, The Hydro Boys,2002, p. 51; Anon The Galloway hydro-electric development, Reprint of papers presented to the Institution of Civil Engineers, 22 February 1938; George Hill, Tunnel and Dam; The Story of the Galloway Hydros, 1984.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

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Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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Printed: 25/05/2016 08:04