Posted by: ed | October 3, 2007

Kinneil – one of Britain’s Best

KINNEIL House and Museum in Bo’ness have been named as one of the top historical attractions in the UK.

The imposing A-listed mansion and its stable-block museum reached the top 100 in UKTV History’s Britain’s Best campaign.

They reached the finals alongside the likes of the famous Forth Rail Bridge, Linlithgow Palace and the Tower of London in the survey, which attracted more than 600,000 votes in total. The overall winner was Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

News of Kinneil’s success came in the week that it was revealed that visitors to its museum had grown by more than a third over the past year. The museum had been threatened with closure due to falling visitor numbers.

The Friends of Kinneil – the charity which supports the promotion of the estate – had been encouraging local people to vote in the UK TV History poll.

Friends’ chairwoman Lynn Munro said: “We’re delighted that a site like Kinneil has captured the imagination of the voting public. It just shows how important it is.

“Locally, we had some stiff competition. The Dunmore Pineapple in Airth, Hopetoun House and the Falkirk Wheel were all nominated – but none made the top 100. We did and we were overjoyed to become one of Britain’s Best attractions.”

She added: “Naturally, we’re hoping that more people come to the museum and Kinneil House as the result of this new status. Just the other weekend, 900 people visited Kinneil House during open days – and we know the museum is getting busier thanks to better promotion.

“Hopefully more people are becoming more aware of the fantastic history we have at Kinneil. This will certainly not do us any harm at all.”

Kinneil House is in the care of Historic Scotland. It was closed to regular visitors in the late 1980s due to low visitor numbers. However, volunteers from the Friends of Kinneil have worked with the agency to revive its fortunes over the past year. The building is now open on selected open days throughout the year. The building, which dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

Kinneil Museum, meanwhile, is open six days a week from Monday to Saturday from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. It features an audio visual show, displays on “2000 years of history at Kinneil”, and displays on the history of neighbouring Bo’ness.

This week, councillor Adrian Mahoney, the convener of environment and heritage at Falkirk Council – which runs the museum – revealed that visitor numbers had grown over the past year.

Councillor Mahoney said: “To the year ending March 2007, 4247 people visited the museum, compared to 3091 the previous year.

“We’re seeing significant increases during months when the House is open to the public – and it seems clear to me that House and the Museum work well together in attracting visitors to Bo’ness.”

Councillor Mahoney said display boards in the upstairs section of the museum – charting Kinneil’s 2000 years of history – have been updated and renewed by Council staff. This will help to improve the interpretation facilities at Kinneil.

He also praised the hard work of museum staff, who welcome visitors to the estate throughout the year. “The Council’s on-site team at Kinneil have a real enthusiasm for the place and really help to bring the history of Kinneil House and the surrounding estate to life.

“I’m delighted that Kinneil House and Museum have made the top 100 in UKTV History’s Britain’s Best poll and hope we can build on this success in the years ahead.”

UKTV History’s Britain’s Best encouraged the public to get out and discover Britain’s rich heritage, visiting places they may not have been to before and re-discovering wonderful trips from their past. UKTV History received more than 600,000 votes via its website, interactive TV voting, phone, post and SMS text messages. You can read about the winners and see details on the top 100 by logging onto

http://uktv.co.uk/history/britainsbest

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

The full list of the top 100 sites is available online at

http://uktv.co.uk/history/item/aid/593429

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Press inquiries about UKTV History – contact Danielle.Kemble@uktv.co.uk

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