Blair Castle

An early 19th-century mansion overlooking the Firth of Forth, a mile (1.5 km) west of Culross in W Fife, Blair Castle provides convalescent breaks for miners, retired miners and their carers. The house was built on the site of Old Blair Castle, built c.1632.

The main block of this A-listed Adamesque mansion comprises three bays and three storeys, built of grey sandstone ashlar, rusticated on the ground floor. The central bay features Ionic pilasters rising to a pediment. There are wings to both sides, added in 1927. The west wing was extended in the 1950s, increasing the accommodation from 16 to 70 residents, the largest convalescent home for miners still operating in Scotland. This wing was refurbished in the early 21st century and reopened by Gordon Brown (b.1951). The entrance is through a portico supported on four Corinthian columns.

During the First World War, the house and estate were bought by the Fife Coal Company who were intent only on acquiring the mineral rights. In 1927, the house, 11.3 ha (28 acres) of ground and a substantial sum of money to support costs were gifted to the Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan Welfare Committee for use as a convalescent home. The home was named the Carlow Miners' Convalescent Home in memory of Charles Carlow, the long-serving Managing Director of the Fife Coal Company. As the mining industry declined and equivalent facilities began to close, so Blair Castle became available to miners and their families from across Scotland. Run by the Scottish Mining Convalescent Trust, the house is now also available for corporate and other events.

Ornamental lawns lie in front of the house. A classical stable block dates from the same period as the house and is now B-listed. The Scottish Army under King Duncan I (c.1010-40) is said to have camped on the estate before a battle against the Norwegians.

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