Dreadnought Street view
Dreadnought Street view

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dreadnought hotel
dreadnought hotel

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dreadnought
dreadnought

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Dreadnought Street view
Dreadnought Street view

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South Lodge has a Grand Grade score of 0.72

Grand Bequest calculates the suitability, or ‘Grand Grade,’ that can be used to sort projects by viability and strengthens objective communication, supports decision-making, and promotes resource allocation to the most ideal projects for conservation taking into account aspects such as cultural significance, social benefit, financial sustainability and adaptability.

Learn more about Grand Grades here.

Cultural Significance

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Financial Sustainability

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Social Benefit

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Adaptability

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More about the building

HISTORY

Historic Origin

In 1898 Scott Gibson set out to create a luxury hotel on Whitburn Road in Bathgate. With over thirty years of experience in the industry, Gibson knew exactly what he wanted and how to execute his plan. The building was designed by JG Fairly in 1900. The architect James Graham Fairley was born in West Calder in 1846. His father was an engineer, and Fairley started his career gaining experience in that field, working at his father’s business, apprenticing with Robert Thorton Shiells, and attending engineering classes at the University of Edinburgh. In 1873 Fairley worked for the War Office as a senior draughtsman (drafter). Following this work, he established himself in Edinburgh as an architect. Most of Fairley’s work, like the Dreadnought Hotel, is located in West Lothian and Dundee. The building was continuously open as a hotel from 1900 to 2006, though it changed management many times over the years. 

 

When the hotel first opened it was advertised as “The largest and finest hotel in the county” with a prime location next to the railway station. Due to the location, it was advertised mostly as a hotel for commercial men since it is centrally located, and an easily commutable distance to Glasgow and Edinburgh. It also welcomed families and boasted large comfortable rooms and parlors for all guests. In 1937 the bar was expanded, creating a larger drinking and entertainment space. In 1954 the hotel underwent some renovations and updates, this was followed in 1961 by the hotel briefly closing for a re-construction. The new slogans of the hotel were, “A Warm Welcome Awaits all at the Dreadnought Hotel” and “We dread nought at the Dreadnought.”

 

Over time the hotel focused less on the commercial travel aspect and more on building a close-knit community. The hotel staff played a large part in the community by helping host local events and donating their time and money to local charities. On one occasion the staff of the hotel raised the money themselves to provide Easter for the children of the Wallhouse Home at Torphichen. The staff explained to the local newspaper that they had such a lovely time with the children on Easter that they were all going to continue putting a little money away every week so they could continue to provide other holiday activities and treats. 

Music Through the Decades

Starting in the early 60s the hotel became famous across the country for its nightlife and entertainment. It was especially known for its live music and dancing, which adapted with the decades to fit what was on-trend. Every weekend people came from all over, even the larger cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to dance the night away at the Dreadnought. In 1962 with the opening of their new ballroom the hotel hosted weekly dinner dances, which were a hit with locals and visitors alike featuring local bands such as Colin Meiklem and his music. In the 60s the hotel also held ‘Swingalongs’ with live jazz music and dancing. At one particular Swingalong in 1967 singer Jackie Brown, international organist Marcosignori, and world-renowned accordionist John Dales all performed. In 1970 the lounge and cocktail bar was renovated allowing the hotel to hold Jazz and Cabaret nights in the newly redone Pine Room and Gilded Cage. During the 70s and 80s, the hotel's music scene again adapted, they hosted weekly discos and then later concerts in addition to the regularly scheduled dinner dances. In 1979 the hotel had the latest sound and light systems installed in partnership with Studio 4, allowing the hotel to host music and dancing almost every night of the week. The Dreadnought’s musical fame continued all the way up to its close in 2006. It is still remembered fondly in the local community, and around the country, as the best rock club.

ARCHITECTURE

The Dreadnought hotel is a large three-storey red-sandstone building that stands over 70 feet high. Later in the 19th century, an additional one and two-storey extension added more space on the backside of the hotel. The building is a modernized Scottish baronial with 19 bedrooms, a ballroom, billiards room, kitchen, drawing room, and bar. The exterior features crow-stepped gables on either side of the building with several chimneys. There are Oriel windows across the front of the building and dormer windows for all of the bedrooms. Originally the flooring was all done with mosaic work, and the main staircase featured stained glass windows.

 

Current Condition

    The building was in use up until 2006 and as such it is in fairly good condition. There is some vegetation growth and damp damage on the exterior since the downpipes and gutter are leaking. The windows are all boarded up, it is unknown the condition of the glass windows beneath, if there are any, or of the building’s interior condition. 

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LOCATION