Could have done more

Dunmore Park House, Scotland (1982)

Dunmore Park House, Scotland (1982)

When I stayed at the Dunmore Pineapple in 1982, we walked across the park to the ruins of Dunmore Park House, which was built for George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore (1762-1836), son of the builder of the Pineapple, by William Wilkins (1778-1839).

Wilkins is best known for his work in the Greek Revival style such as the National Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge and the Yorkshire Museum in York.  He could turn his hand to other styles, however, and had built Dalmeny Castle in what was called ‘Tudor Revival’ for the 4th Earl in 1817.

It follows that Dunmore Park House, built for the same family in the same style as Dalmeny, is an architecturally significant building.  The Murrays left Dunmore in 1911, but the house remained a home until 1961.

When we explored it in 1982 it was already derelict, having been abandoned after a short spell as a girls’ school in 1964.  Since then, it has become entirely a ruin, and remains the subject of seemingly intractable planning debate, which figures on the Scottish Buildings at Risk register  (See also

The house is illustrated at, a series of images shot in 2007.

Edmund Burke’s sonorous remark that “The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing” is customarily applied to more grave and significant matters than planning policy, but the fact remains that while private owners and public bodies prevaricate, a worthwhile and once habitable building disintegrates.

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