Design and Influences
Bute Town was conceived as a “new town” (possibly in the same way that model villages were created later in the century at Bournville, Saltaire and Port Sunlight ) built with local materials such as sandstone tiles for the roofs and locally quarried Millstone Grit random rubble walls.
The development is impressive with 3 rows of 16 “houses” with a wide central street, designed as a grid, the space and location were designed to foster good health. The rows are symmetrical and have a formal Renaissance “Palladian” design, with 3 storey central block at the centre. There are deep overhanging eaves, strong stone walls and generous windows. Lower Row has a vaulted lower ground floor that may have been a separate unit, continuing the tradition of “dual-row” dwellings (i.e. 2 houses on top of each other). There were also cellars beneath Middle Row, most of which are now in-filled.
Whilst Bute Town appears to be 3 rows of 16 houses, it is apparent that the buildings were configured in numerous ways to accommodate a range of family groupings – during 19th century the population ranged from a low of 195 to a high of over 430.
Architectural historians have pointed out that there are similarities in the design of Bute Town and Lowther Village near Penrith which was designed by Robert Adam and built by Sir James Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale in 1765. There are links between the Lowther family and the Bute Estate, which could have resulted in the family being inspired by the design.
Bute Town today