Basic Site Details

Name: Glen Tanar Estate, Boathouse and Bridge of Ess
Town, district or village: Glentanar/Glen Tanar
City or county: Aberdeenshire
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: Thomas Mawson has been widely credited with the layout of the gardens and estate but his role appears to have been far more limited than suggested in his autobiography and by later writers. When William Cunliffe Brooks first leased the estate and began his improvements, Mawson was but eight years old.

Mawson had been introduced to the "tyranical" but generous Sir William Cunliffe Brooks (1819-1900) by Frank Stanier of Peplow Hall Shropshire. Before he died, Sir William in turn had recommended Mawson to three further clients in Aberdeenshire, Mrs Mary Grenville Pickering of Kincardine House, Sir Alan Mackenzie at Braclkey and Lord Errol of Slains Castle.

Mawson was certainly professionally involved with improvements to the estate in April 1895,almost certainly with the re-design of the entrance to the park. Mawson’s partnership with Gibson began in 1898, two years before the death of Sir William and the dates generally given for their involvement are the two years c1898-1900. There appears no record of work at Glen Tanar in the Thomas Mawson archive at Kendal currently catalogued, nor in “The Art and Craft of Garden Making,” which Mawson used to illustrate many of his projects.

The boathouse seems likely to have been the work of Mawson, with the summerhouse, steps, balustrades, and various lakes which are all part of the gardens.

Mawson is widely credited with the widening of the Bridge of Ess in 1894, although this appears doubtful. The bridge carries the public highway over the river and is therefore outside the boundary of the estate. Further, Mawson who described himself as a garden architect, would not have had the necessary engineering skills for such a project.

See separate entry for Tower Lodge

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 3Bridge  
Item 2 of 3Boathouse  
Item 3 of 3Garden  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 2August 1894 Foundation stoneKeystone ceremony laid for widening of bridge.
Item 2 of 218951899Build/constructionArchitectural and garden work, including entrance to the park


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 5Charles EwenClerk of WorksB1894 Widening of Bridge of Ess
Item 2 of 5George Haywood TruefittArchitect 18981899See Beard p52
Item 3 of 5Dan GibsonArchitectA18981899Architectural work in association with Mawson's garden work, including entrance to the park
Item 4 of 5Mawson & GibsonArchitectural practiceA18981899Architectural work in association with Mawson's garden work, including entrance to the park
Item 5 of 5Thomas Hayton MawsonGarden designer, Landscape architect, Town PlannerA18981899Garden work


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 1Brooks, Sir William CunliffeClient for Mawson & Gibson work


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 4Beard, Geoffrey1978Thomas H Mawson, A Northern Landscape Architect University of Lancaster Visual Arts Centrep52
Item 2 of 4Inventory of designed landscapes1986Inventory of designed landscapes  Volume III p228
Item 3 of 4Mawson, Thomas H1927The Life and Works of an English Landscape Architect  p46 etc
Item 4 of 4Waymark, Janet2009Thomas Mawson: Life, Gardens and Landscape Frances Lincoln Ltd. Londonp87

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Aberdeen Journal2 August 1894  p7
Item 2 of 2Manchester Guardian20 April 1895  p5 - Correspondence with editor concerning Continental earthquake

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register3127Bridge of Ess
Item 2 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register47083Boathouse - probably Mawson
Item 3 of 4Information courtesy of Graeme More who has specialist knowledge of Dan GibsonInformation via website (from Graeme More)  
Item 4 of 4National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSGeorge Truefitt at Glen Tanar 1875-85: photo album Album of sketches, photos & cuttings Acc No 1998/44