Celebration for Scots’ genius at Kinneil

The Scots inventor James Watt – the man who turned the steam engine into the powerhouse of the industrial revolution – will be celebrated at a special event at Kinneil House, Bo’ness, this month.

The engineer did early work in a workshop at Kinneil and the humble building stands to this day. Watt was working in partnership with the businessman Dr John Roebuck, co-founder of the Carron Iron Company, who then lived at Kinneil.

On April 23 and 24, a costumed interpreter will be at Kinneil House to tell visitors about Watt’s story and his links with the area.

The event has been organised by Historic Environment Scotland in conjunction with The Friends of Kinneil charity.

Ian Shearer from The Friends of Kinneil said: “James Watt was one of Scotland’s greatest innovators. His development of the steam engine into a true industrial workhorse changed the world.

“Many people know about Watt but less about his early experiments at Kinneil and his links with John Roebuck, coal and cast iron.

“We hope this open weekend will make people more aware of his legacy and the important role Kinneil played in his rise to prominence.

“Visitors will also get a chance to see inside Kinneil House which is steeped in history and boasts amazing Renaissance wall paintings.”

Amy Mack from Historic Environment Scotland said: “We’re pleased to be working with The Friends of Kinneil to celebrate the genius of James Watt.

“We hope people will come along to Kinneil House on April 23 and 24 and ‘meet’ the man himself – played by a costumed interpreter.

“Visitors will also get the chance to tour inside Kinneil House and hear wonderful stories about this imposing building which dates back to the 16th century.

“Both open days are free of charge to attend, and there’s no need to book – although children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

“We’ll start performances from our costumed interpreter and tours at 1pm sharp with a last admission at 3.30pm both days – so don’t be late.

“Kinneil Museum will also be open both afternoons. Again admission is free.”

The Watt Weekend is supporting this year’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The Kinneil event is also part of a roster of activities organised to mark John Muir Day and the second anniversary of the opening of the John Muir Way (which passes Watt’s Cottage).