Inventor’s cottage vying for heritage votes

James Watt's Cottage at Kinneil Estate, Bo'ness

History fans are being urged to get voting and crown a little-known building as one of Scotland’s top “hidden gems”.

The James Watt Cottage in Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, was built in 1769. It was used as a workshop by inventor James Watt to secretly develop world-changing improvements to the steam engine with patron Dr John Roebuck, co-founder of the Carron Iron Works.

The building is now vying for votes in an online Facebook poll run by Dig It! 2017. Early voting has led the building to be a leading contender in the poll.

Dig It! 2017 is promising the top six heritage sites selected by the public will be rewarded with special events this September.

Ian Shearer from charity The Friends of Kinneil is encouraging everyone to support the Watt Cottage and boost recognition for the Falkirk area’s role in the Industrial Revolution.

jameswatt-fromvictorianbook1Ian said: “We’re delighted that Watt’s Cottage is on the shortlist, and has momentum. Hundreds of people have voted already, simply giving a ‘like’ on Dig It! 2017’s special Facebook album. But we need more people to join in and click through to make sure we’re in the top six.

“The Watt Cottage is the only contender on behalf of the whole Falkirk district, so we’re asking people right across the local area to get behind it and give it their vote.”

He added: “In 2019 we’ll celebrate 250 years of Watt’s 1769 patent for the condensing engine. This hidden gem of a building symbolises one of the most fascinating and important innovations ever in the history of technology. It deserves the much higher profile which a place in the top six would bring.”

You can find out more information, including how to vote, at Facebook.com/DigIt2017 and at http://bit.ly/ScotinSixHG

Voting ends at the end of July.

Other entrants in the heritage poll include a hill fort with rumoured links to Arthurian legend, Viking-age monuments tucked away in Govan and a mausoleum with “Whispering Wa’s” and a record-breaking echo. Voting runs on the Dig It! 2017 Facebook page until the end of July.

As part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Dig It! 2017 worked with partners across the country to celebrate Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites with six unique events earlier this year. It now wants to do the same, celebrating Scotland’s top six hidden gems.

Dr Jeff Sanders, Dig It! 2017 Project Manager, said: “We had such a great time coordinating the World Heritage Day events . . . we wanted to do something similar for these lesser-known but equally spectacular sites.

“Since we have six of these iconic World Heritage Sites, we thought it would be fitting to invite the public to pick six Hidden Gem counterparts.”

Partners from across the country, ranging from small community groups to national heritage organisations, helped nominate the sites.

Once the votes have been tallied, Dig It! 2017 will work closely with these organisations to celebrate the six winning sites with six different events during Scottish Archaeology Month (SAM) in September.

Dr Doug Rocks-Macqueen, SAM Coordinator at Archaeology Scotland, said: “Scottish Archaeology Month is an annual celebration of history, heritage and archaeology around Scotland in September, and we’re excited to have the Hidden Gems as the marquee events for the 20th anniversary. I can think of no better way to celebrate Scotland’s past than highlighting the heritage chosen by popular vote.”

To explore the sites and vote for your favourites, visit Facebook.com/DigIt2017 … More information is also online at http://bit.ly/ScotinSixHG


Find out more about the cottage, and its story, at www.kinneil.org.uk/jameswatt


Dig It! 2017 is a year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology, co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

The project is primarily funded by Historic Environment Scotland. For more information, visit digit2017.com or join the conversation using #ScotlandinSixHG


2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activities to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology began on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It builds on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

For more information visit http://www.visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017



Adrian Mahoney
The Friends of Kinneil
Tel: 01506 82371 4 / 07967 150560
Email: info@kinneil.org.uk

Julianne McGraw
Dig It! 2017 Communications Officer
Tel: 0131 247 4066
Email: julianne@digit2017.com

The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity
Charity Registration Number : SC038368