Free event: Imagine James Watt

Kinneil Estate is hosting a free event from Dig It! 2017 on Saturday, September 30 . . . run in association with The Friends of Kinneil. It celebrates inventor James Watt and his Estate Cottage workshop with fun activities for all the family.


Who was James Watt and what happened at his cottage almost 250 years ago?

The James Watt Cottage may well be the only surviving building in Scotland with a direct link to James Watt’s life and work. The partnership between this legendary engineer and Dr John Roebuck led to their patent for the separate condenser, which was used in the Watt steam engine, a key point in the Industrial Revolution. The James Watt Cottage in Bo’ness was used as his secluded workshop for the ongoing development of their engine and there are no better-surviving monuments to the story of their world-changing work in the 1760s.

With over 800 votes, the James Watt Cottage was recently crowned as one of Scotland’s six most spectacular Hidden Gems as part of Scotland’s Year of History Heritage and Archaeology. Imagine James Watt will celebrate this victory with a day of free activities and entertainment coordinated by Dig It! 2017 and the Friends of Kinneil House.

Start your visit with Macastory by following James and John to the cottage, where they’ll tell you a tale of innovation, frustration and triumph. Why did John first call on James? How does Kinneil House fit into the story? How did it end so badly for one man and so well for the other?

Use your imagination and your LEGO skills to rebuild the site as it might have looked in 1796. Was it as simple as it appears to be? What it actually ten stories high? Have the historians missed the swimming pool?

Get in touch with your inner inventor and create the cottage of the future in Minecraft with ImmersiveMinds. Has his workshop been given the high-tech treatment? Has it been turned into a massive museum? Is it surrounded by zombies and lava?

Head to the Impact Wall to explore what wouldn’t exist today if James had never had his breakthrough. Use words or artwork to add your own impact to the wall, whether it’s on an international scale or a more personal level. Would it mean that you would never have played at the cottage as a child? Can you imagine a world without cars or trains? What if he had never been inspired by that boiling kettle?

All activities are free and suitable for all ages. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Imagine James Watt is part of Scottish Archaeology Month and Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Date : Saturday 30 September
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Kinneil Estate, Duchess Anne Cottages, Bo’ness, United Kingdom, EH51 0PR
Cost: Free