Posted by: ed | February 21, 2017

See inside Kinneil House on March 25

kinneilhouse-boness-interior-arbour-room_thumb.jpgThe 2017 season of free open days at Kinneil House in Bo’ness kicks off on  Saturday, March 25.

The mansion will be open from 10 a.m. to noon, with the last admission at 11.30 a.m. There’s no need to book, just turn up. Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.

The House boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

The open morning has been organised to co-incide with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival taking place in the town the same week.

To find out more, visit

Get directions to Kinneil House, Museum and Estate here

Posted by: ed | February 21, 2017

Crowds flock to Kinneil House

Kinneil House, Bo'ness

Kinneil House, Bo’ness

More than 1760 people visited the inside of Kinneil House in Bo’ness last year.

The figures were collated over eight open days in 2016, by Historic Environment Scotland and The Friends of Kinneil.

The groups join forces to organise free guided tours of the mansion. The building dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries and was once home to the powerful Hamilton family.

The charities said Big Roman Day at Kinneil was the most popular House event in 2016 – attracting more than 530 people in just a few hours.

A spooky Hallowe’en event came second, pulling in 234 people. There was also a schools’ day and a tie-up with the national Festival of Museums.

A spokesperson for The Friends said: “To attract 1763 people over just eight days is a tremendous result. Hopefully we’ll attract even more people with our new series of open days in 2017.”

The first open event of the new season is on Saturday, March 25, 2017, when the House will be open from 10 a.m. to noon, with the last admission at 11.30 a.m. The spokesman added: “There’s no need to book, just turn up. Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.”

The first Kinneil event has been organised to co-incide with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.

To find out more, visit

Posted by: ed | November 6, 2016

William wins Hallowe’en contest

dscf8811Little William Rowbotham from Grangemouth (pictured) has won our recent Hallowe’en competition.

We challenged youngsters visiting Kinneil House last weekend to don fancy dress.

Friends trustees selected William as their winner – although it was a difficult choice with lots of great entries.

The youngster wins a £10 voucher for the Inkspot and Silverleaf Booksellers in Bo’ness.

A spokesman said: “We liked William’s outfit and his attitude – so picked him as our winner. Thanks to everyone – including adults – who came in fancy dress to Kinneil House on October 30. We appreciated everyone’s efforts.”

A gallery of the entries is featured below.

Posted by: ed | October 19, 2016

Friends win Heritage Angel Award

The Friends of Kinneil charity has won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award.

The Bo’ness group scooped the “Sharing and Celebrating” category in the competition to honour heritage volunteers. The announcement was made at a ceremony Edinburgh last night (Tuesday 18 October).

Friends chair Maria Ford said she was “delighted” at the group’s success.

The awards were established by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards highlight what can be achieved when local people get involved in rescuing and restoring heritage throughout Scotland – from Dumfries to Orkney to Bo’ness. Huge congratulations to the winners, and indeed to all who were shortlisted, not only for the work they do but for being outstanding ambassadors for heritage.  I urge everyone to use the light we shine on these projects and their unsung heroes to unlock further funding and to inspire others to get involved.”

Organisers said: “The Friends of Kinneil scooped the award for best project in the Sharing and Celebrating category, in recognition of the outstanding work they do in championing the heritage of Kinneil House, museum, estate and nature reserve in Bo’ness. 2016 is the charity’s 10th anniversary, as well as the 250th anniversary of James Watt’s invention of the condensing steam engine. Much of the formative work to create that invention was carried out at the house and the group have led on the Scottish commemorations as well as delivering a number of local events, including the Big Roman Week.”

Other award recipients were Mark Cranston from Jedburgh, who was named as winner of the Investigating and Recording category. Four years ago, Mr Cranston embarked on a remarkable project to research and record as much information on the Scottish industrial brick industry as possible – significantly adding to the current level of information available on the subject.

The Caring and Protecting category was won by Neil Kermode and the Orkney Heritage Society, for their work to restore the HMS Hampshire, or ‘Kitchener’ memorial on Orkney.

In a very competitive section, the Young Heritage Angel Award was won by the ‘Dig TV’ young volunteer group, who designed and operated television content, focusing on a major archaeological excavation in the Black Loch of Myrton, near Whithorn.

The Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment award was presented to Brian Watters for his work relating to the Carron Iron Works in Falkirk, by Historic Environment Scotland Chief Executive Alex Paterson. The award was recognition for Brian’s work which he has been researching for more than 30 years.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The awards provide a platform to celebrate those selfless individuals around the country who devote their time and energy to a cause bigger than themselves – to the benefit of their communities and further afield. Often with little or no recognition or thanks.

“It is equally important that we recognise the contribution of every person who has given up their time for no pay, in order to help, in some small way, all of us to better understand, protect, and value our heritage. I hope that their dedication inspires many others to get involved as well.”

The winners of this year’s Angel Awards were decided by a judging panel consisting of Professor John Hume (OBE), conservation architect Andrew Wright (OBE), Georgia Vullinghs, of the Scotland’s Urban Past Youth Forum, Colin McLean, Chair of the Scottish Civic Trust, and Vanessa Collingridge, who hosted the awards event.

The awards were delivered in partnership between the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Scottish Civic Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Scottish Civic Trust is the main delivery partner.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, added: “The Angel Awards are proof of the amazing work done by thousands of heritage volunteers across Scotland.  Their achievements are of great benefit, in economic, social and cultural terms, to Scotland’s historic environment. The awards are an opportunity to highlight their efforts and acknowledge their commitment, passion and enthusiasm. We are very grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for their support for these unique awards.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said: “Last night’s awards are a great way of recognising the contribution of these fantastic volunteers to Scotland’s heritage sector, but it represents only a small cross-section of the work that is taking place in communities across the country to celebrate, share and enhance that sector on a daily basis. As much as tonight is about taking a moment to celebrate and applaud all of the nominees – not just the winners – for their outstanding efforts, I hope that the wider impact of the awards will be to highlight the many benefits of voluntary work, and inspire others to get involved.”



Posted by: ed | October 12, 2016

Get a spooky free tour at Kinneil on October 30

halloween2016-revised1Spooky Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors just before Hallowe’en.

The mansion, which dates back to the early 1500s, will be open for free tours on Sunday, October 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. (last admission 3.30 p.m.)

Youngsters are being urged to turn up in fancy dress. The best-dressed child will win a book token.

Volunteers from The Friends of Kinneil charity will be on hand to telling chilling tales about the building’s past. The House is said to be haunted by the ghost of a White Lady. The volunteer guides will also reveal how local people were tried for witchcraft in the Bo’ness area.

(More visitor information here.)

Kinneil House – which boasts its own internal gravestones (remnants from nearby Kinneil Churchyard) – was once home to the powerful Hamilton family.

The ancient building also features some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – and has links to characters such as James Watt and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The free open afternoon will be the last chance for people to see inside Kinneil House (the centrepiece of Kinneil Estate) in 2016. The Friends, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, will re-open the building again in Spring 2017 with a new series of open days.

A spokesman for The Friends said: “The old house gets quite spooky at this time of year. In fact, you never know what you might discover!

“Hallowe’en open days are always popular at Kinneil and we’re encouraging folks to come along to enjoy the seasonal fun. Children, particularly those in fancy dress, will be very welcome – with a prize for the best-dressed child. However, anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The last admission this year is 3.30 p.m., so don’t be late!”

Kinneil Museum – in the grounds of the surrounding Kinneil Estate – will also be open. The museum features relics dating back to Roman times, as well video displays and hands-on exhibits. There will also be a pop-up cafe, selling drinks and snacks.

* Kinneil House, Museum, and Estate are on the western edge of Bo’ness, just off the A993 (Dean Road) – the main road through Bo’ness. The postcode for the site is EH51 0PR. For maps, and more information, visit You’ll also find updates on social media: and

Download the 2016 poster here

Posted by: ed | October 12, 2016

Coming to Kinneil on October 30? Read this …


Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness hosts its last open day of 2016 on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2016 … just before Halloween.

There will be free spooky tours for families to enjoy. Kinneil Museum, next to the House, will also be open.

Read the press release here

If you’re coming along, here are a few things to bear in mind.

  1. Kinneil House will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 30, 2016 with the last admission at 3.30 p.m. – so don’t be late.
  2. Volunteer guides will be telling spooky stories about the building itself and about local people tried for witchcraft. If you’re easily scared, this isn’t for you.
  3. Children are being encouraged to don fancy dress. The best dressed child will win a book token for the fabulous Inkspot and Silverleaf bookshop in Bo’ness.
  4. To be considered for the prize, kids (and parents) need to climb to the top of the House and get their picture taken (to help us judge entries). You’ll also need to leave your details – without those we can’t get in touch with you. We’ll reveal the winner via our Facebook page the week after the open day.
  5. We will use the pictures of fancy dress entrants on our web pages and social media. If you don’t want your child’s picture re-used please let us know.
  6. Children under 16 also need to be accompanied by an adult to gain entry to the House.
  7. We’ll be doing timed tours so you may have to wait a little to get in. Be patient! It’s worth it.
  8. The House also features wonderful renaissance painted rooms. You can see pictures on our website.
  9. The separate Kinneil Museum will be open (from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m.) Again, admission is free. Please note the museum is open a little longer than the House!
  10. The museum features hands-on displays and film shows. There’s also a public toilet with baby changing facilities.
  11. There will also be a pop-up coffee/drinks stall selling hot and cold drinks, chocolate and crisps inside the museum. Profits go to The Friends of Kinneil charity.
  12. If the House is very busy, consider visiting Kinneil Museum first – and then the House (but make sure you get into the House for 3.30 p.m.)
  13. Visitors will be able to park in the grounds in front of the House. Motorists should be aware the estate will be busy, so watch out for pedestrians.
  14. If you need directions, visit – or type in EH51 0PR into your Sat Nav.
  15. We welcome feedback. If there’s a problem on the day, ask one of the staff or volunteers on duty. We’ll try to help as much as we can.
  16. You can also leave a review on TripAdvisor. For links see
  17. People with disabilities are very welcome. Most of the key events take place on the ground floor of Kinneil House. There are a few stairs into the building. There are also two further floors to visit, accessible by a spiral staircase. Sadly there’s no lift in this historic building. Kinneil Museum, however, has a fully accessible ground floor and toilet and has a ramped access.
  18. Enjoy your visit. Any questions, please email us:

Thanks to everyone for all their support in 2016, particularly our partners at Historic Environment Scotland and Falkirk Community Trust.

We’ll be running more Kinneil House open days next year. Keep visiting our website at – and social media channels on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

* Kinneil House, Museum and Estate are on the western edge of Bo’ness, just off the A993 (Dean Road) – the main road through Bo’ness. The postcode for the site is EH51 0PR. For maps, and more information, visit You’ll also find updates on social media: and

Download the 2016 poster here

Posted by: ed | September 15, 2016

Friends shortlisted for Angel awards

MARIAFORD-VOLUNTEERSWEEK1-300DPIThe Bo’ness-based Friends of Kinneil charity – celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – has been shortlisted for a national award.

The group, which promotes and helps develop historic Kinneil Estate and its neighbouring Nature Reserve, is down to the final three entries in the “Sharing and Celebrating” category of the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards.

The Friends are competing against entries from the Dig It! TV Team, for their volunteer-led YouTube channel, and the Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust, for bringing Victorian halls back into use.

The competition, funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, will announce the 2016 winners at a ceremony next month.

Maria Ford (pictured right), chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “The Friends of Kinneil are honoured and excited to have been shortlisted for the prestigious Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2016. This year the charity has been celebrating its tenth anniversary with special events, including a James Watt birthday reception in the Scottish Parliament and the biggest ever Big Roman Week festival which includes our very first Antonine Wall Community Conference.

“This nomination is a mark of recognition to the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the last decade to help promote and develop Kinneil House, Museum, Estate, Nature Reserve and the unique combination of outstanding heritage assets we have.”

Twelve entries have been shortlisted in the competition.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “It is wonderful to shine a light on the endeavours of these Scottish Heritage Angels, whose triumphs of dedication, energy and tenacity might otherwise go unsung. Every one of them is vital to preserving and promoting the richness of Scotland’s heritage. I congratulate them all on their fine achievements.”

Author and broadcaster, Vanessa Collingridge; photographer and Chair of the Scottish Civic Trust, Colin McLean; and Georgia Vullinghs, of the Scotland’s Urban Past Youth Forum, will join returning judges Professor John Hume OBE and Andrew Wright OBE, one of Scotland’s foremost conservation architects, to decide on this year’s overall winners across the five categories.

The awards are delivered by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation in association with Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish Civic Trust, Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, said: “This year’s shortlist for the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards once again demonstrates the great scope of volunteer-led heritage work that is being undertaken throughout the country. It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm and passion that Scotland’s heritage ‘Angels’ contribute to the sector, particularly in the Young Heritage Angel Award, which is a new addition for this year.

“These awards provide us with a real opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate all those behind a wealth of projects and activities, both big and small, and their valuable work, which directly contributes to and benefits Scotland’s wider historic environment.

“Each of the applicants along with this year’s shortlist are to be commended on their impressive achievements to date.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards highlight and recognise the outstanding work and diversity of volunteers and community groups across Scotland who work tirelessly, throughout the year, to investigate, protect and share knowledge about Scotland’s rich and diverse heritage.

“The awards also provide an ideal opportunity for us to celebrate Scotland’s wider historic environment and the strength of the connection that so many of our communities feel for the past.  I congratulate all of the ‘Heritage Angels’ shortlisted for these awards and wish them continued success in their communities.”

Shortlisted ‘Angels’ have been invited to attend the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards ceremony, hosted by Vanessa Collingridge, to be held at the centuries-old Assembly Rooms, on Edinburgh’s George Street, on Tuesday 18th October, where the overall winner of each category will be announced. To view the full details of the official shortlist for this year’s Scottish Heritage Angel Awards please visit



Full shortlist for the 2016 Scottish Heritage Angel Awards

Investigating and Recording:

  • Baberton Mains History Group for their social history and heritage project exploring the 1970s Wimpey Baberton Mains housing estate development, Edinburgh
  • Castlemilk Park’s Local History Group for the How Old are Yew? Project, looking into the history of the now demolished Castlemilk House and its grounds, Glasgow
  • Mark Cranston for his work focussing on a unique part of Scotland’s industrial heritage in recording Scottish brick makers and brick markings, Scottish Borders

Caring and Protecting:

  • Jess Smith for her work to ensure the safeguarding of Tinker’s Heart and celebrating Scotland’s traveller community and their culture, Perthshire – with the project being undertaken in Argyll and Bute
  • Volunteers at Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works for their efforts towards the £2.9million High Mill Open Gallery Project which brought a derelict building back into community use as well as the conservation and display of previously unseen objects from the museum’s collection, Dundee
  • Neil Kermode and the Orkney Heritage Society Kitchener Memorial Working Group for the centenary year restoration of The Kitchener Memorial to better remember all those who lost their lives on HMS Hampshire on 5th June 1916, Orkney

Sharing and Celebrating:

  • The Dig It! TV Team for their volunteer-led YouTube channel which aims to engage people with Scotland’s history in a new and exciting way and encourage them to discover their own local history and heritage for themselves, Edinburgh and throughout the country
  • Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust for the restoration and bringing back in to community use the Victorian-built Burgh Halls as well as the safeguarding of an important collection of objects, Glasgow
  • The Friends of Kinneil for their on-going dedication in promoting the rich history and heritage of Kinneil House, its Museum, Estate and Nature Reserve, Bo’ness

Young Heritage Angel Award:

  • The DigTV Young Volunteer Group for their work with the Whithorn Trust to engage people with archaeology and history through film and digital media, Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dunfermline Young Archaeologists’ Club for the recording of graves and monuments as part of the Dunfermline Abbey Graveyard Project led by Dunfermline Heritage Community Projects, Fife
  • Junior Park Rangers for their work in Holyrood Park contributing towards looking after the royal Park’s heritage and raising awareness of a safer countryside for all, Edinburgh

Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment:

The overall winner of this category will be announced at the awards ceremony in October.

The full press release is on the Historic Environment Scotland website


Posted by: ed | September 13, 2016

Free Roman conference in Bo’ness

History fans are being invited to a mini-conference about the Roman Antonine Wall.

The event takes place in the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness this Sunday, Sept 18, from 10 a.m. A spokesman for the organisers said: “This free event is for anyone in the community interested in the Antonine Wall and Roman heritage in the area.”

Key speakers will include Professor David Breeze, previously of Historic Scotland, and Dr Fraser Hunter of National Museums Scotland.

There will also be presentations on new interpretation along the Antonine Wall, and the John Muir Way – which runs past many of the local Roman sites.

Organisers have also secured a speaker from Odenwald in Germany – Falkirk district’s twinned area – to speak about the Romans in her country.

To book a free place click: or visit the Big Roman Week website at

You can also call 01506 823714.

The event has been organised by The Friends of Kinneil charity in association with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust.


Posted by: ed | September 12, 2016

See inside Kinneil House on September 17

Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors for free tours on Saturday, September 17.

Visitors will be able to see inside from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The imposing mansion boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland.

Outside will be a Roman fun day, including appearances from the Antonine Guard re-enactment group – plus Roman-themed activities at the new Kinneil orchard.

Children will be able to dress up in Roman outfits.

Kinneil Museum will be open from 12.30 p.m. There will also be a pop-up cafe, selling hot and cold drinks and snacks.


Posted by: ed | September 11, 2016

Family fun event on September 17

A family fun afternoon is taking place at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, on Saturday, September 17.

Kinneil House will be open for free tours. There will also be a variety of Roman-themed activities in the grounds as part of a “Big Roman Day”.

The imposing House was built on the line of the Roman Antonine Wall, which became a World Heritage Site in 2008.

Saturday’s fun kicks off at 1 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Admission to the House and the events are free of charge.

Look out for:

Volunteers will be on hand to give free tours around Kinneil House, which boasts amazing renaissance wall paintings. The last admission to the House will be 3.30 p.m.

Kinneil Museum, next to the mansion, will be also open. There will be a pop-up cafe, selling hot and cold drinks and snacks, in the museum.

Saturday’s event has been organised by the Friends of Kinneil charity in association with Historic Environment Scotland, Falkirk Community Trust and Forth Environment Link (supporting the Orchard project).

A spokesperson for the Friends said: “It’s a free event, so please come along with the family for a great day out. As well as tours and activities, there will also be apple-pressing at the orchard stall – so bring some apples with you.”

The event is part of Doors Open Days in Falkirk district this year. It’s also supporting the Scottish Archaeological Month – and is part of the Big Roman Week festival.

For directions to the venue, click 


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