Help make Kinneil Estate's hidden gem a winner

History fans across the Journal and Gazette area are being urged to get voting and crown a little-known building as one of Scotland's top 'hidden gems'.

Tuesday, 25th July 2017, 11:23 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:10 pm
Watt Cottage on Kinneil Estate

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 now encouraging everyone to support the Watt Cottage and boost recognition for the Falkirk area’s role in the Industrial Revolution.

Ian 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.”

Ian 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.”

Readers can find out more information, including how to vote, at

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 this month.

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 co-ordinating 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 co-ordinator 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

More information is also online at The James Watt Cottage at Kinneil.

Find out more about the cottage, and its story, at