Panacea Property are already actively involved in the conservation of Helensburgh’s architectural heritage through their recent conversion of the town’s much respected former maternity hospital and Royal Navy family centre at Braeholm, which features a William Leiper designed extension. The purchase of Cairndhu House and subsequent planing application will continue their association with the Helensburgh architect’s work, creating apartments that sensitively incorporate the buildings beautiful interior spaces within what will be spectacular new homes. To enable this, some equally unique new-build apartments are included within the development proposals, sensitively designed into the landscape in a manner that will not disturb the building’s setting or character.
Grade A listed Cairndhu House represents a pinnacle in architect William Leiper’s French Renaissance style, characterised by Scottish baronial influences. The house incorporates lavish Anglo Japanese interiors, including a gold stencilled ceiling, coloured glass windows and decorative stonework, all by renowned Glasgow artist Daniel Cottier. Constructed in 1871 for local flour miller and Lord Provost of Glasgow, John Ure, the house was later requisitioned during the WWII for use as part of HMS Vernon, but has also seen use as a hotel and a nursing home up until its closure in 2010, becoming a familiar and much loved part of the Helensburgh waterfront. Whilst the richly decorated interiors of Cairndhu House remain substantially intact, maintenance has suffered in recent years and the building fabric and decorative features are in urgent need of repair and conservation. The building is currently listed on Historic Environment Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register and they are also currently photographing all internal areas of importance.
The project will involve considerable research and investigative work before any construction starts, to ensure that the unique qualities of Cairndhu House are appropriately preserved. Work on the preparation of detailed conservation proposals, exploring and describing significant features and how these will be protected and repaired where required are on-going in conjunction with Historic Environment Scotland and Argyll & Bute Council.