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Dundurn Castle

Dundurn Castle (1835) National Historic Site, Hamilton, Ontario.

Craig has been involved in many projects at Dundurn National Historic Site, Hamilton, Ontario since 2006.  One of the more interesting findings has been that many features thought to be “modern” such as improved central heating, gas lighting and water closets and baths were introduced very early on at Dundurn by Sir Allan MacNab. Craig prepared a study of the history of WCs and baths at Dundurn and, as an outcome of that, has just prepared drawings and specifications for the recreation of one of Sir Allan's bathrooms which he had installed in the 1840s. This led to the development of drawings and specifications to support the restoration of three 2nd floor rooms that had not been restored in 1967. These rooms are now presented as Aunt Sophia’s suite – a bedroom, sitting room and bath with WC.


When the house was first built in the 1830s this room was a bedroom. However, our research and analysis of the physical remains indicates that in the 1840s the room was divided up to create space for a bath and water closet. This photo shows the 1840s partition rebuilt and the restored bath in place. The wall paper was reproduced based on fragments trapped behind a partition wall.


This image shows the water closet reproduced as shown in Craig’s shop drawing. Details are based on period examples.


This is Craig's shop drawing for the reproduction cabinet work required for the water closet based on period examples.


This is Craig's drawing for the recreation of the missing bathroom doorway based on early as found drawings and historic photographs.


This is a partial view of Aunt Sophia’s sitting room. Architecturally the room was largely unchanged from when it was first built in the 1830s.


Beginning in 2006 Craig has prepared a total of six Historic Structures Reports for the interior of Dundurn. These studies document and analyze which features are original and how and when the building changed and evolved over time. The studies have revealed a new and fascinating degree of information about Dundurn and have proven a number of notions to be myths. For example, we have determined that the house was unfinished to a great degree when Sir Allan MacNab and family moved in in 1835, many of the most formal rooms did not take their current form until the late 1840s, and that the sophisticated plaster ceilings in the drawing room and dining room are original and unaltered, contrary to popular opinion.

DUNDURN Historic


Dundurn Castle as it appeared in 1835.





The same view today.


Dundurn Construction Drawing 

One of the illustrations prepared for the report to explain ceiling and cornice construction proving that the ceiling dated to the 1830s



Moulding profiles at Dundurn are a valuable tool in understanding building evolution.

The Rolph Gates at Dundurn NHS were restored two years ago. They were erected in 1854 and are beautiful examples of their type combining both cast iron and wrought iron components.


Rolph Report


As a preliminary step research was undertaken 
to document the history of the gates and to assemble
all historic photographs and other references.


   DUNDURN Gate Drawing

Drawings were prepared for each gate leaf to record conditions.



This is one of the vehicular gates in the open position.

Missing hardware was designed based on historic photographs,
physical evidence and comparable examples.



The restored gates as they currently appear.


At some point in the past the overthrow for the gates was removed. Based on historic photographs and remaining physical evidence, drawings and specifications were recently prepared for the reconstruction of the overthrow.



The Rolph Gates as they appeared in the late 19th C.



These are details from the working drawings prepared to reproduce the overthrow.



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