NS3178 : Ruins of Ardmore Observatory

taken 4 years ago, near to Ardmore, Argyll And Bute, Great Britain

Ruins of Ardmore Observatory
Ruins of Ardmore Observatory
This ruined tower is at Ardmore Point; it is located on the summit of the Hill of Ardmore.

The listing text for nearby (and category-B listed) Ardmore House LinkExternal link (at Historic Environment Scotland) describes it as an early-nineteenth-century telescope tower with an encircling wall. The upper part of the outer wall is now gone, but was shown in a 1942 watercolour by J R A Griffith (RE). The white parts (probably made of plaster) shown in that painting are now gone; only the red sandstone parts of the structure remain.

[NOTE: It would be inadvisable for the public to enter or explore this ruin. As just mentioned, much of the structure is already gone, and some large cracks are visible in what remains of it. The masonry of the upper parts, in particular, is crumbling and unstable. These pictures for Geograph were obtained for educational and archaeological purposes, since very few pictures of the structure are otherwise available.]

The notes to the listing text mention that the tower is identified as "Ardmore Observatory" on an 1842 map of the Clyde, and that during the nineteenth century local newspapers reported weather conditions from Ardmore. It was therefore a weather observatory, and not an astronomical one; the building is sometimes called a "telescope tower", but this is a description, not of its use, but of its shape (like that of an old-fashioned collapsible brass telescope).

The inner tower contains a spiral staircase. Halfway up that staircase, there is a door in the side of the inner tower; this would have led to an upper room within the now-disappeared upper half of the enclosing wall. Small regularly-spaced holes can be seen halfway up the outer surface of the inner tower; along with corresponding holes in the outer wall, these would presumably have supported joists for the floor of that room.

Above that, at the top of the spiral staircase, there was formerly a small room at the top of the inner tower; it projected above the rest of the structure (as shown in the watercolour painting mentioned above).

"At the back of the house [Ardmore House] a walk with thick hedges on either side leads up to a curious telescope-shaped structure, known as 'The Tower,' with an open gallery all round the lower storey, and one or two rooms in the upper part" [page 295 of "The Annals of Garelochside" (1897) by W.C.Maughan].

135 metres to the SSW, an older D-shaped tower is built against the cliff face at the southern side of the Hill of Ardmore: see "Ardmore defensive tower" Link

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NS3178, 94 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 22 April, 2015   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 29 April, 2015
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Derelict, Disused 
Primary Subject of Photo
Place (from Tags)
Ardmore Point 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3165 7868 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.2906N 4:41.9517W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3166 7869
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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