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www.maclean.org - Home to the Worldwide Family of Clan Maclean  

Dimensions and Details

The Blackwood name lives on in naval history, one Captain Blackwood, after whom the Blackwood class frigate was named, fought with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar. In Edinburgh, the family is best remembered for having founded Blackwood's Magazine.
The house remained in the family for 170 years, although it lay empty for nearly a century. In 1884, it was bought by Henry Beveridge, and sold in 1938, with the remaining grounds, to the Air Ministry for £12,306. While this may seem a paltry sum, it represented 60 years wages for a working man at that time.
The original building was oblong in plan, with two wings of equal size projecting from the North side. The oblong is 66' 6" (approx 20 metres) long, with wings 19' x 14' (about the size of a modern living room).
The original entrance on the inner side of West wing can still be seen, with the pediment above bearing the initials "HW" below a star, the crest of the Wardlaws. This door was the only entrance to the building, although there was a corresponding door in the East wing leading to a blind cellar.
The roof originally had "crow steps" on the gable walls, and dormer windows. The vaulted bottom floor contained the kitchen and a series of cellars opening off a corridor. There were no windows at this level, a defensive feature fairly common in fortified Scottish homes. Access to the upper floors was gained by two circular staircases with slits and gun holes below.
The Eastern staircase has a right-hand thread ascending, while the Western staircase is oppositely handed. There is a theory that this may not have been the original design, and that later reconstructions were made when swords were no longer common weapons. It may be of interest to note that the spiral staircases in Dunbar castle, ancestral home of the Kerr family, are left-handed, as were the Kerrs!