HISTORIC Kinneil House in Bo’ness is opening its doors for a series of free open days in 2009.
The A-listed building – which boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – will provide access to visitors over five afternoon sessions, including a special Homecoming weekend, and an event to tie in with Hallowe’en. (The House helpfully boasts its own "ghost".)
Access has been organised by Historic Scotland – which cares for the building – in conjunction with the heritage charity The Friends of Kinneil.
The open days will take place on:
• Saturday, April 25, 2009 (Homecoming event)
• Sunday, April 26, 2009 (Homecoming event)
• Saturday, June 27, 2009 (Bo’ness Fair event)
• Sunday, September 20, 2009 (Kinneil Heritage Day)
• Saturday, October 31, 2009 (Hallowe’en event)
Each House opening will run from noon to 4 p.m. – except the last event, on October 31, which will run from noon until 3 p.m.
Bruce Henderson, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: "We’re pleased to continue our work with Historic Scotland to provide free access to this fascinating building.
"Last year, around 1500 people visited Kinneil during a series of open days. We’re hoping to build on this success in the coming year."
He added: ""At each event, volunteers will be stationed around the House to tell people about Kinneil’s rich and varied history. We always get terrific feedback – and are hoping more people will be inspired by the House and its fantastic heritage in the months to come."
Kinneil House, which dominates the surrounding Kinneil Estate, dates back to the 15th century and was once a popular home for the Dukes of Hamilton. The building was re-modelled in the 1540s and transformed into a stately home in the 1660s.
In the early part of the 20th century, the house and estate were sold to Bo’ness Town Council. In 1936, the local authority stated demolition work, but halted the process when the rare renaissance wall paintings were discovered by a worker. The buildings were put into the care of the Ministry of Works, now Historic Scotland.
For the past two decades, access to the house has been limited. However, Historic Scotland is now working with The Friends of Kinneil group to improve public access to the building.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Kinneil House is just off the A993 – the main road through Bo’ness in central Scotland. For location information visit http://www.kinneil.org.uk/map
2. Kinneil House is only during special open days. However, neighbouring Kinneil Museum, run by Falkirk Council, is open to the public throughout the year. The Museum is normally open Monday to Saturday from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The surrounding Kinneil Estate features remains of the Antonine Wall and is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.
3. Kinneil House is one of 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Stirling, Edinburgh and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. Find out more by visiting http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk