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Commissioners' Cottage

Background

Commissioners’ Cottage, also known as Mugdock Cottage, is the main building within the whole Reservoir complex and has been used for various purposes over more than 160 years. Originally it was an elegant, single storey dwelling with a symmetrical west elevation centred on the entrance porch with sash and casement windows on either side. Ornamental carved barge-boards were a particular feature of this building. In 1888, Commissioners’ Cottage was substantially modified and extended with a two storey wing
added to the southern end and the main doorway relocated to the position of an original window. There were further additions in 1897.

Commissioners’ Cottage has a crucial place in the history of the Reservoir. The official opening ceremony of the entire Katrine Water scheme was performed by Queen Victoria on the 14th October 1859 and when a museum was established later within the building, exhibits from the opening, including the chair used by Queen Victoria, were put on display.

The northern part of the building and upper floor is now a private home while the lower southern end is still owned by Scottish Water but currently unused having latterly provided office accommodation.

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Current Issues

We believe Scottish Water have neglected the building and as a result, it is showing signs of deterioration and requires restoration to keep it wind and watertight and preserved as a vital part of the Reservoir’s history and heritage.

Under pressure from the Friends, Scottish Water have begun initial investigation into improvement work and we will continue to campaign to have it carried out to a proper conservation standard.

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Future Actions

After remedial work has been carried out we believe Scottish Water should offer the building as a legacy and goodwill gesture for the considerable disruption caused during the Burncrooks pipeline project – and the failure to meet all of the conditions laid down during the Treatment Plant approval eleven years ago.

We believe that with some investment by Scottish Water, the building could be given a new lease of life, perhaps as an information centre for visitors, a community centre or even an office or accommodation for a Reservoir ranger, which we think would be a great step forward, would save SW the cost of private security and ensure that SW get best value from maintenance and repair contracts.

A visitor centre providing information on the history and crucial role of the Reservoir area would be a valuable asset to the community. It could also provide additional and much-needed toilet facilities. It could be managed by the Friends group on a voluntary basis but maintained by SW as owners who would provide a reasonable budget towards running costs.

It could also be available to community groups, in addition to the Friends, such as Milngavie in Bloom and for hire at a minimal cost to other organisations to generate some income towards the Friends’ activities.

We understand the adjoining former treatment building still contains redundant plant and machinery and that this could be of interest to engineering historians. It may be that the building could open as a small industrial museum showing the engineering achievement and history of the Katrine water supply.

Commissioners’ Cottage is an important part of the history of the Reservoir and Milngavie but because of its deteriorating condition as a result of a lack of maintenance by Scottish Water, it should be placed on the Buildings at Risk Register and this is something we are actively pursuing.

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After remedial work has been carried out we should look at potential future uses for the building as a legacy and goodwill gesture from SW for disruption during the Burncrooks pipeline project – and the failure to meet any of the conditions laid down during the Treatment Plant approval eleven years ago.

A visitor centre providing information on the history, function and layout of the Reservoir area would be a valuable asset. It could also provide additional and much-needed toilet facilities. It could be managed by the Friends group on a voluntary basis but maintained by SW as owners. SW should provide a reasonable budget towards running costs.

It could also be available to community groups, in addition to the Friends, such as Milngavie in Bloom and for hire at a minimal cost to other organisations to generate some income towards the Friends’ activities.

We believe a ranger service is an essential element to ensure the safe and efficient maintenance of the Reservoir in the future. This would be financially beneficial to SW, saving the cost of private security and ensuring that SW get best value from maintenance and repair contracts. Commissioners’ Cottage would be an ideal base for a ranger and possibly even provide living accommodation.

We understand the adjoining former treatment building still contains redundant plant and machinery and that this could be of interest to engineering historians. It may be that the building could open as a small industrial museum showing the engineering achievement and history of the Katrine water supply.

We believe Commissioners’ Cottage is an important part of the history of the Reservoir and Milngavie but because of its deteriorating condition as a result of a lack of maintenance by Scottish Water, it should be placed on the Buildings at Risk Register and this is something we are actively pursuing.

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