William Burn, 1824. 2-storey, asymmetrical Tudor Revival house; converted to golf club use in 1928. Entrance to E, symmetrical garden front to S and office range to N; wall abutting onto house at W encloses kitchen court. Ashlar; base course; string courses; stone hoodmoulds; eaves cornice. Octagonal corner turrets; stepped, battlemented parapet; shaped pediments. Predominantly bipartite windows; chamfered reveals. Stone mullions.
E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 4-bay asymmetrical main block with lower 5-bay block over raised basement to right; corner terminated by square tower on right. Advanced entrance tower in 3rd bay; Tudor arch entrance with double roll moulding; hoodmould; 2-leaf studded wooden door. Double string course divides ground from 1st floor; window at 1st floor; hoodmould. Windows at ground and 1st floor of right and left returns; octagonal corner turrets. Recessed narrow bay to right; single light at ground and 1st floor; corner right turret. Bay to left of entrance tower; windows at ground and 1st floor. Broad projecting bay to outer left with Jacobethan shaped gables; blank escutcheon in gablehead. Full-height, battlemented, 5-light projecting windows; punched quatrefoil frieze above each window; octagonal corner turrets. Lower 2-storey wing over raised basement to right; 4-bay terminated by slightly advanced, taller square tower, stepped battlements; fenestration as wing. Barred windows at basement; taller windows at 1st floor; hoodmoulds. Smaller windows at 1st floor; continuous hoodmould.
S (GARDEN) ELEVATION: 5-bay, symmetrical block overlooking terrace and former gardens. Advanced, full-height, canted window at centre; shaped gable; blank escutcheon in gablehead. Punched quatrefoil frieze above each window; framed by octagonal turrets with decorative heads. Tripartite windows symmetrically disposed in each bay to right and left.
N ELEVATION: office court with buildings concentrated on E side linked to W elevation of house by boundary wall. N return of tower to outer left; single bay link block; 2 storey, 2-bay block advanced to right; window and bipartite at ground; dormerheads above; porch with Tudor-arch openings built into re-entrant angle. Coursed sandstone wall runs to right; segmental arch entry to court; door at outer right. Corner terminated by truncated, octagonal, battlemented tower.
INTERIOR OF COURT: E side, 2-storey kitchen and office range with dormerhead tripartite windows; single storey ranges built against E and S walls. Rear elevation of main house, stair window, stone mullions with arch arcading at upper level recessed between outer left bay and 3 bays to right; some modern alteration to right.
W ELEVATION: 4-bay block with wall surrounding office court to left, punctuated by corner tower. Full-height, canted bay to outer left; battlemented parapet; shaped pediment; 2 narrow bays to right and full-height 5-light window at outer right. Courtyard wall has arrowslits at regular intervals. 6-pane sash and case windows; horizontal glazing. Plate glass sash and case windows at ground floor on S and W sides. Grey slate piended roof; tall octagonal cans with scalloped caps.
INTERIOR: (seen 1998). Distinguished details surviving. Entrance through tower into symmetrical vestibule, door to right leads to long saloon opening into well staircase; balustrade of wrought-iron interlaced hoops with patera detail. The main rooms are concentrated on the S side of the saloon overlooking the terrace; drawing room and library have coffered ceilings; drawing room has octagonal and square compartments. Cornices are simple; egg and dart with Greek-key motif. Carved wooden book-cases on W wall of library. Doorcases have triangular pediments with rinceau frieze. Plain black marble chimneypieces. Bathroom on 1st floor contains a marble bath in a pilastered timber aedicule.
TERRACE WALL AND GARDEN: rendered boundary wall with curved ashlar coping; simple die; some with ball finials. Cast iron gates with Greek key motif. Access steps to garden at left hand side (garden now part of golf course).
Statement of Special Interest
Ratho Park is an outstanding and early example of a country house design in the Turdor Revival style. The house was designed by William Burn in 1824 for John Bonnar of Ratho. William Burn (later with David Bryce) was Scotland's leading architectural practice of the first half of the 19th century and an important figure in architecture in Great Britain. The plan of the house is interesting in that it served as a prototype for other houses by Burn. William Burn used a more elaborate form of this plan at Moncreiffe, now demolished. The property changed its name from Ratho House to Ratho Park when it was bought by John Dougal of Nairnshire in 1868. The icehouse and dovecot, belonging to an earlier phase when the barony of Ratho was owned by the Foulis family (1563-1786), are listed separately.
Ratho Park has been the home to the Ratho Park Golf Club since 1928 (see below). The house remained in the ownership of the Dougal family until it was formally purchased by the Club in 1955.
Scotland is intrinsically linked with the sport of golf and it was the birthplace of the modern game played over 18 holes. So popular was golf in medieval Scotland that it was a dangerous distraction from maintaining military skills in archery and James II prohibited the playing of 'gowf' and football in 1457.
The 'Articles and Laws in Playing Golf', a set of rules whose principles still underpin the game's current regulations, were penned in 1744 by the Company of Gentlemen Golfers (now The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers). Improved transport links and increased leisure time as well as a rise in the middle classes from the mid 19th century onwards increased the popularity of the sport with another peak taking place in the early 1900s.
Ratho Park Golf Club was formed in 1928 although not formally opened until 11th May, 1929, when a match was arranged between James Braid and Harry Vardon, who dominated the golfing scene in the early part of the last century. The club at Ratho Park formed after its previous course at Corstorphine Hill (when is what part of the Corstorphine Golf Club) was annexed for the extension of the Edinburgh Zoo. In 1955 the Club purchased the estate of Ratho Park, which it had held previously on lease.
The clubhouse has been the subject of two refurbishment programmes, the first from 1980-82 and the second from 2000-01.
List description updated at resurvey in 1998 and as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, Annex 2, pp74-76.
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