Stuart House pre and during development
Stuart House post development
Stuart House, the main building at Eskmills, housed spinning and weaving machines on all floors. It was built in 1867.
The design was sold as a “fireproof” Mill construction, with iron columns (by the Musgrave Foundry) and floor formers, infilled with brick arches and concrete. Previous to this, mill building were primarily constructed of timber, and regularly burnt down with loss of life, and production.
Each floor has the same iron arches and beams, sold as an interlocking kit, with only the column heights differing. An early form of system building.
The roof is timber slate covered with roof lighting, in five pitched sections. The valleys were originally drained via the internal columns, but now by external rainwater pipes.
Following the closing of net manufacturing Stuart House had been left to deteriorate. Whilst structurally still sound, is was in a poor state.
The front façade is in highly decorative stonework, with four statues on the top level (the top floor was a later addition by the owners) featuring Grecian style female statues holding in turn, a cotton bobbin, an Anchor, a bible, and a bundle of cotton or flax plants. All reflecting in a way the buildings purpose.
A later expansion on the East side of the building, housed the water tank and stair (for all the size of the building, it only when built had one stair) and is topped by a cast iron clock tower, with a four faced clock, which is a feature used and seen by the whole of Musselburgh. The tower was cast by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow – a major ironworks at the time and famous among other things for casting the decorative ironwork for Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
THE RESTORATION AND DEVELOPMENT
In developing Stuart House, single and two storey building which had been added to the original building were demolished, with the windows on ground a first floor being reinstated. Many new cast iron windows were cast using the remaining existing ones as templates.
Substantial stone repairs and replacements were carried out to the Courtyard façade which had been patched and repaired over the years in cement render. The clock tower was fully dismantled and new cast iron ornamentation was cast as required to replace broken or missing components again using existing items as patterns and the whole reassembled.
East Lothian Council who had in store the mechanism from the historic “Hayweights Clock”, a well known Musselburgh landmark which had been moved to facilitate construction of the Brunton Hall in the town, agreed to donate the mechanism which was then rehoused with some additions to power the four faces of the Eskmills Clock.
A new central stair with adjacent lift shafts was constructed in the building, the roof had substantial repairs and has been slated to match the original finish.