Watt’s cottage in Bo’ness is one of Scotland’s hidden gems

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A cottage in Bo’ness which helped to play its part in history has been named as one Scotland’s six hidden gems.

The James Watt Cottage, in the grounds of Kinneil House, is now roofless and has become a playground for children.

However, more than 250 years ago it was where the Scottish inventor tested out his prototypes for a better steam engine, which would go on to play a huge part in the Industrial Revolution.

He teamed up with an industrialist Dr John Roebuck who wanted him to improve the way water was pumped out of the mines as the early steam engines were not up to the task.

Watt is said to have worked at Kinneil for two spells in 1769 and 1770 but the engine trials were not wholly successful until they moved away from Bo’ness.

The cottage came fourth on the list of six “Hidden Gems” voted on by local groups and organisations on Facebook where one like equalled one vote.

Also on the list are Govan Stones, Glasgow, which was the most popular site with over 2000 votes. Ardrossan Castle, a medieval ruin which once played host to some of Scotland’s most powerful people including William Wallace, came in second place.

The Howff, a 453-year-old graveyard, landed in third place with over 1000 votes, Campbeltown Picture House came fifth and Lincluden Collegiate Church in Dumfries and Galloway claimed the final spot.

The list is part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations with organisers identifying Scotland’s six World Heritage sites in April before searching for six “lesser-known” sites to bring them into the spotlight as well.

The six winning Hidden Gems sites are now preparing to mark their victory with six events during the Scottish Archaeology month in September.

Dr Jeff Sanders said: “We’ve been thrilled by the reaction to the Hidden Gems campaign.

“The people who nominated the sites have put an enormous amount of time and effort into the promotion and it’s been great to see members of the public respond with equal enthusiasm – whether they’re sharing childhood memories or discovering a site for the first time.”

Marie Christie, of VisitScotland said: “From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is the time to explore Scotland’s fascinating past.”