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Falkirk

Our Doors Open Days weekend is 14th and 15th September.

 

Falkirk

Callendar House Archives

14 September 2019

In the west wing of Callendar House lies the Searchroom for Falkirk Archives, containing collections relating to the Falkirk area and its people. It is located in the oldest part of the house. When the Forbes family was in residence it was used as a library whilst the adjacent archival storage area was a ladies’ parlour. The current design of the library dates from 1830 and was created by David Hamilton, who also designed the Steeple and Larbert Church. It has original oak panelled walls with an elegant barrel-vaulted ceiling. The wood is said to be from the family estates in the south of Scotland. A large mirror at one end reflects the repeated rectangular shapes of the bronze screens and coffering of the ceiling, thereby exaggerating the length of the narrow room. The room is north facing which helps to keep the contents cool, both in Forbes’ time and ours, as well as contributing to the visual mood of the room. This special weekend opening of Falkirk Archives also opens up a lesser known aspect of archival collecting - displaying material one might not expect to find in an archive such as sound and film recordings. This was highlighted by a recent BBC documentary on the BA Cowboys! Callendar House is open free throughout the year and has permanent displays of Roman material, as well as a large late 18th century kitchen and beautiful grounds. Courtesy of Falkirk Community Trust.

Falkirk

Falkirk Steeple

14-15 September 2019

Completed in 1814 according to designs by David Hamilton of Glasgow the Steeple is the iconic landmark of the town. 140ft tall, it has four stages – the bottom being severe Florentine; the second Greek Doric; the third or clock chamber Italianate; and the belfry Ionic. It was constructed to house the town’s bell and clock, as well as containing temporary lockups. The design was a reflection of civic pride. The original Steeple on the site was erected in 1697 and was the first building to be owned by the Stentmasters – the precursor of the town council. The building has just been completely refurbished as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative and later this month, a new display will be installed to tell the story of the jail and the market square. You will be able to see the plans for this display which will include the bell of 1697.

Falkirk

Kinneil House

14 September 2019

Set within a carefully designed park landscape Kinneil House or Palace was built for James Hamilton the second Earl of Arran when he was the Protector and Governor of Scotland from 1542 to 1554 during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots. It still houses the best 16th and 17th century murals in Scotland. The bed chamber is now known as the Arbour room and the painting is full of foliage, scrolls and animals. This was later painted over in imitation of wainscoting and a coffered ceiling containing the 1621 coat of arms of Arran. The withdrawing chamber has a number of biblical scenes on the walls, notably the Good Samaritan. Last year access was created to extra rooms in the residential wing and to the ground floor of the tower house – meaning there is even more to see! In 1677 Anne Duchess of Hamilton began a programme of renovation, producing the house and grounds as they appear today. By the late 18th century the house was being let. Dr John Roebuck lived here 1764-94 and invited James Watt to perfect his separate condenser here. Dugald Stewart the philosopher was another famous tenant 1809-1828 and has a memorial on Carlton Hill in Edinburgh. The grounds are also the setting for events connected with the Roman Week, which runs in September. The Antonine Wall runs close to the House and the remains of a Roman fortlet can be seen. There is also a 12th century church. There is also a 12th century church. Kinneil Museum, located in the old coachhouse, is open from 12.00-4.00pm. Nearby is the workshop in which James Watt experimented on the separate condenser in 1768 and this will feature in the guided tours. Please book on line at www.historicenvironment.scot/events

Larbert Old parish Church looking east fromt he churchyard

Falkirk

Larbert Old Parish Church

14 September 2019

This prominent landmark dominates the skyline for miles around. The church opened in 1821 at a cost of £4,400. Its architect, David Hamilton, also designed Falkirk Steeple. The style is Gothic with prominent crocketed finials on the corner buttresses and the west tower. The tower contains the main entrance and opens into a vaulted vestibule from which stairs rise to right and left to the gallery landings. Between the stepped buttresses are tall traceried windows, many of which now contain stained glass. The styles are varied and well worth a visit in their own right. The approach from the main road is between chamfered sandstone gatepiers with crenellated polished ashlar caps and decorative cast-iron gas lamp fittings. On the left is a pink granite marble fountain with a shallow bowl on a turned circular plinth, presented in 1923. On the right is the 1905 hall, designed by P. MacGregor Chalmers.

Stainton Column

Falkirk

Larbert Old Parish Churchyard

14 September 2019

Adjacent to the parish church is a burial ground whose magnificent monuments neatly encapsulate the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland. They are dominated by those relating to the Carron Ironworks, which was established in 1759. The large edifices to its managers range from an Italianate tomb, to a huge urned column and a Roman temple. Cast iron features strongly throughout the graveyard with elaborate railings and obelisks. The Carron Enclosure contains beautiful examples of public art, including two tombs designed by John Hutchison of Edinburgh, one of the most famous sculptors of the late 19th century. In its own separate enclosure stood the earliest cast iron funerary obelisk anywhere in the world. It commemorates the most famous Scottish explorer of his generation, as recorded on its panels: “James Bruce esq of Kinnaird,/ who died on the 27th of April 1794,/ in the 64th year of his age/ his life was spent performing/ useful, and splendid actions/ he explored many distant regions./ He discovered the fountains of the Nile./ He traversed the deserts of Nubia.” The monument was so famous that Roberts Burns paid a visit to it. The graveyard is open all the year round, but over this weekend there will be guided tours.

Falkirk

St Andrew's West Church

14-15 September 2019

This tall red sandstone building with its 130ft tall spire dominates Newmarket Street. The use of red-snecked rubble makes it stand out from the neighbouring buildings. Above the entrance is a fine Burning Bush sculpture. The foundation stone for Falkirk Free Church was laid on 15th September 1894, and in January 1896 it opened at a total cost of £8,100. It was designed by James Strang in the mid-pointed Gothic style. The inside was refurbished last year and is now bright and clean. Colourful stained glass in a variety of styles fills the ground floor windows. It includes the figure of St Modan – the patron saint of the town – and the town’s coat of arms and motto, ”BETTER MEDDLE WI THE DEIL THAN THE BAIRNS O FALKIRK”. These are also to be found on the Burgh Buildings. On the window the lion has changed colour to yellow! The congregation’s war memorial is on the organ casing, and the roll of honour is in the main stair.

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Area Coordinator

  • Geoff Bailey
  • Falkirk Community Trust