AHSS Objects to Pitlochry Station Footbridge Replacement Plan

The Tayside & East Fife Cases Panel is concerned by plans to replace Pitlochry Station’s footbridge. After careful consideration, we’ve issued a strong objection to removing the existing footbridge.

Pitlochry Station holds a Category A-listed status, meaning it’s of special architectural or historic interest, “an outstanding example of a traditional railway station, demonstrating specific characteristics of the Highland Railway Company station building of the 19th century.”

The proposal aims to swap out the old cast iron footbridge for a modern accessible one, complete with lifts for easy platform access. While making things more accessible is fantastic, the suggested plan is not sympathetic to the station’s significance.

Several options for ‘accessibility solutions’ were explored, but the only practical one considered was replacing the historic footbridge. The proposed design doesn’t align with the Local Development Plan, which emphasises that any alterations shouldn’t harm the building’s architectural or historic interest. We fear the change might irrevocably damage the station’s integrity.

It would seem that a range of alternatives are possible. We have suggested that keeping the existing footbridge and discreetly adding a new, less obtrusive bridge elsewhere might be an option, i.e.  a modern structure behind the old bridge, blending in and ensuring accessibility without significant impact on the station’s heritage.

An argument is also made for removing the bridge due to potential future train line changes. Instead, why not consider raising the bridge itself? It’s a feasible solution used elsewhere that wouldn’t harm the station’s historic significance.

In essence, we firmly believe that removing the footbridge isn’t necessary. There are alternative routes to creating accessibility without compromising the station’s significance. We are not alone in taking this view – the strength of local feeling about this issue is evident in the 25 objections received from the community. 

Read our objection letter.

Think our work is important? You can support the Society’s campaigning work today by becoming a member or donating.



7 & 8 May 2022: Scottish Mills Weekend with SPAB Scotland & PKHT

A celebration of all things Milling in Scotland with Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

Milling Matters – Scottish Mills Weekend

Date: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th May 2022
Location: Mercure Hotel, West Mill Street, PH1 5QP, PERTH
Time: 9am onwards
Cost: EARLY BIRD OFFER – £95 for Saturday & Sunday
Available until 18.00 on 15 March 2022

Full ticket – £110 (Saturday & Sunday)
Saturday only – £75
Booking Closes at 18.00 on Friday 21 April 2022

SPAB Scotland and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust are thrilled to invite you to the first ever celebration of mills and milling in Scotland, to be held in Lower City Mills, Perth and with visits to mills in Perthshire.

The event will be held on National Mills Weekend and will be packed with interest, covering many aspects of mills from industrial heritage to bread making and hydro-power.

Saturday starts with a selection of short talks in the Mercure Hotel Perth, formerly Upper City Mill, and which has some remaining elements rare to molinologists..  Topics covered will include looking after mills as a community trust, heritage grains & breadmaking, micro hydro-power, the Scottish textile industry, looking after mill machinery, and a short history of Perth Lower City Mills given by PKHT director David Strachan.  We will visit Lower City Mills in the afternoon, and hope to engage delegates in a lively discussion about the future of mill conservation and heritage milling and it’s associated skills in Scotland.

Sunday continues with a coach trip in the scenic Stanley, Blairgowrie and Rattray area to watermill sites not normally open to the public, and where we will take a scenic walk along the River Ericht. Further details will be advertised when confirmed.

Click here for more details of the event and to book your place


Four Fabulous Lectures

Date: 08/03/2022 – 03/05/2022
Location: Online
Time: 12 noon – 1.30pm
Cost: £18 for Members or £21 for Non-members

If you missed the first lecture, don’t worry! An email link to the recording will be provided if you buy the joint ticket to watch the others live / at a later date. 

SPAB Scotland are pleased to present this series of 4 lectures in the run up to our Milling Matters – Scottish Mills Weekend on 7-8 May 2022.  Tickets for the following lectures can be bought indiviually by following the links, or as a block booking via the link below.

Click here for the programme of events in the lecture series and to book your place


Historic Environment Policy for Scotland Two Years On – Have Your Say

Invitation to participate in Historic Environment Scotland’s online survey on your experience and use of HEPS

Two years on from the introduction of the Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS), Historic Environment Scotland is looking for your comments on how the policy is performing.

This survey is for everyone. Whether you have never heard of HEPS before, use it everyday, or are somewhere in between, your feedback is really valuable.

The survey will take around 10 minutes to complete and will be open until 30 August.

Follow this link to take part in the survey


Former Royal High School site now being marketed by the City of Edinburgh Council


In January 2021, the Finance and Resources Committee of Edinburgh City Council agreed that the Calton Hill building would be remarketed, ushering in ‘a new chapter for the property at the heart of Edinburgh’s original World Heritage Site’.

The City of Edinburgh Council has now put the former Royal High School on the open market, inviting interested parties to submit development plans in exchange for a long lease.

Any proposals must guarantee the Royal High School’s long-term viability, be of the highest architectural quality, and take into consideration the conclusions reached by the Scottish Ministers following the public inquiry.

Read the tender document here


AHSS responds to the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy and Skills consultations

Closed 30/04/2021


The AHSS has recently submitted responses to the Scottish Government’s Consultations on:

  • Draft Heat in buildings strategy – achieving net zero emissions consultation.

Read our response here

View the consultation paper here 


  • Draft Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes.

Read our response here

View the consultation paper here





REPORT: Martin Robertson on ‘Preserving the Cultural Heritage, Supporting the Green Transition’ G20 Culture and Climate Change webinar

Climate Heritage Network Webinar 12 April 2021
‘Preserving the Cultural Heritage, Supporting the Green Transition’ 
Part of the G20 meeting in Italy.

by Martin Robertson, Chair of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland

On behalf of the AHSS I attended this webinar to see how far it would concentrate on the built heritage and the possible mitigations which might enable historic buildings to adjust successfully to the future levels of energy efficiency that governments might demand of them. I quickly discovered that the programme was aimed not at the already converted but was an attempt to convince the G20 countries that heritage could be made a part of the solution. The Italian Government, the current President of the G20 countries, had decided that culture was to be the main theme of their Presidency, and this webinar was a small part of their exploration of this.

It was quickly evident that Italy’s main concern will be seismic events, extreme weather, rising sea levels, flooding and tourism overload, so much of the webinar was looking at reacting to these events rather than making sites and buildings more sustainable in themselves. They saw regular monitoring through IT, satellites and drones as the way to prevent the worst effects of these events before they happen.

Tourism is the fastest growing source of global carbon emissions, already at an estimated 8% of the total. One third of all tourism is to the Mediterranean countries, so the Italians have put themselves forward as natural leaders for a new approach to this. The Italians clearly think that the cultural heritage = what tourists want to come and see i.e. it is cultural heritage because tourists want to come and see it rather than for the sense of place and educational and emotional value that we might like to think that we place upon it in Britain and Scotland. This attitude does often appear here as well since it provides an easy way of giving a calculable value to sites, but does, of course, tend to exaggerate the honey pot nature of tourism as more and more people visit the must-see sites while neglecting the other sites which give a completely necessary setting without which the honey pots become little more than theme parks.

Key messages which did come out of the webinar –

  • Successful mitigation of the effects of climate change will require a complete change in the lifestyles of the developed world.
  • Close monitoring of sites using IT, satellites and drones will give warnings and help with future planning.
  • Heritage must become more climate literate and much better at climate risk assessments.
  • Indigenous knowledge can contribute enormously to cultural management strategies.
  • A level of loss must be accepted i.e. We can expect that each site can only be preserved for so long. We are not going to be able to save everything so how far do you go to protect any one thing.
  • It is almost always possible to retrofit historic buildings to an acceptable standard of energy efficiency without lasting damage to their character.
  • Culture and heritage can be key drivers towards net zero and will be a key piece in the puzzle as we “build the better normal together”.

All in all, it was a programme of bite-sized chunks intended to persuade the G20 that this approach was both possible and vitally important. All very well-intentioned, but will they sign up to it?

Here is the link to the day’s programme.



Campaign to stop Dundee City Council from indiscriminately selling one of the most important civic buildings of pre-industrial Dundee, Dudhope Castle.

Support Friends of Dudhope Castle to retain the Castle for the benefit of the community.

Dundee City Council Development Committee voted 15 to 11 to sell or lease the Castle in January 2021 as part of a cost-saving exercise.

The decision has been met with dismay by the local community, who fear that the Council has overlooked the architectural, archaeological and cultural importance as well as the social value of this important building.

The A-listed Dudhope Castle is one of Dundee’s oldest buildings. As architectural conservationist and AHSS Tayside and East Fife Chair, Adam Swan wrote in his letter to the council leader, John Alexander, Dudhope Castle is ‘probably the most significant civic structure of pre-industrial Dundee’.

Dundee’s original castle on the waterfront was demolished in the aftermath of 1314. Dudhope thereafter became the seat of the Scrymgeour Constables of Dundee. In 1668 the Castle and post of Constable passed to Charles Maitland, and then in 1684 to John Graham of Claverhouse or “Bonnie Dundee”, ill-fated victor of Killicrankie. After his death Dudhope was awarded to the Douglases. They leased out the castle for conversion to a woollen mill, which failed, then from 1795, as a Government barrack. The lease expired in the 1890s, and the property reverted to the Earl of Home.

The Earl planned to develop the surrounding park for housing and the Castle was threatened with demolition. The community objected and Dudhope was saved by purchase by the Corporation, aided considerably by nearby householders and other supporters. The park is still well used by the community and the castle, though increasingly derelict, was used by local groups until restored on a budget in the 1980s. It became Abertay University’s business school and, until last year’s lockdown, was most recently used as council offices.

The castle today is a distinctive L-plan range of 4-floors dating from the 1600s and the 1790s, with white lime harl, turreted corners and an impressive symmetrical entrance front. Inside is a substantial stone stair, vaulted cellars and larger spaces that could readily be adapted. It is surrounded by the public park, with mature trees, its own parterre garden and car parking alongside. Its former pleasance is the historic industrial area to the south, including the award-winning Verdant Works textiles museum, and the city centre is a quick hop over the adjacent main road.

Adam Swan has called for the castle to put be put to a use more fitting to its status, citing other ambitious recent initiatives intended to attract investment in Dundee businesses – V&A Dundee, Eden, the eSports arena and Museum of Transport. Separately, a petition objecting to the sale has attracted huge support both locally and internationally, and a newly formed Facebook ‘Friends of Dudhope Castle’ group is providing ideas and community involvement.

Sign the petition here


Dudhope Castle from the east by Ydam – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Former Royal High School Appeal Dismissed!

Scottish Ministers have dismissed the planning and listed building consent appeals and have refused planning permission and listed building consent for the proposed development of the former Royal High School, Edinburgh into a luxury hotel.

The AHSS welcomes the decision by Scottish Ministers to reject the appeals by Duddingston House Properties and the Urbanist Group against the refusals of planning and listed building consent by Edinburgh City Council.

The AHSS has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the former Royal High School from the hotel proposals which were simply too much development and in the wrong place. There would have been very real adverse impacts on not just the former Royal High School but also on Edinburgh’s iconic Calton Hill, the New Town, the Old Town and the World Heritage Site.

The AHSS would like to thank all who have campaigned with the Society and contributed to the costs of our representation at the public inquiry. We hope that with this decision by Ministers, the developers will draw back and allow the Royal High School Preservation Trust to move forward with the consented and funded proposal for the music school.


Follow this link to view copies of the decision letters and the reports to Scottish Ministers.



CANCELLED: 30 April 2020: ‘Conservation Areas – Now and Tomorrow’ at the Engine Shed

The AHSS is delighted to be partnering with Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) on this free event about conservation area policy and management.
*Please note that due to the coronavirus outbreak this event is now postponed until further notice.
Register your interest now to receive a notification about the revised date by emailing managingchange@hes.scot

Venue : The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling, FK8 1QZ
Time : 9:45 – 16:15
Cost : Free / Register your interest at managingchange@hes.scot

A free one-day seminar at the Engine Shed in Stirling to discuss conservation area policy and management. The event is primarily geared to heritage sector practitioners.

The seminar will be an opportunity for local authorities, advocacy groups, policy makers and decision makers to get together and talk about what is most important to them for good place making. We will be looking at what is working and not working, current best practice, what local resources are available, and the expectations of communities and stakeholders.
We will also be sharing initial plans for new conservation areas policy and guidance and seeking feedback and further participation.

The day will be divided into three sections:

  • Reality and Resources
  • Placemaking
  • Policy Roadmapping.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Mark Douglas (Scottish Borders Council)
  • Christina Sinclair (Scottish Borders Council)
  • Rachel Haworth (Heritage Consultant)
  • Nick Haynes (Heritage Consultant)
  • Sonya Linskaill (Conservation Architect)
  • Martin Robertson (AHSS Chair)
  • Dawn McDowell (HES)
  • Simon Montgomery (HES)

This is a partnership event with The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS), Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

For more information and to register your interest please contact managingchange@hes.scot



**This series has now been cancelled**
Programme of talks announced!

Venue: Room LT2, Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, University of Dundee, DD1 4EN
Time: 6.00pm
Cost: Free

Download the programme here



Dundee University Postgraduate Programmes Urban Conservation

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland Tayside and East Fife

Dundee Historic Environment Trust


This series of lectures is sponsored by:

Dundee City Council




Dundee Historic Environment Trust

Angus Council




The AHSS Joins the Climate Heritage Network

The AHSS is pleased to have endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding
proposed by the Climate Heritage Network.

The AHSS believes that we must make maximum use of our entire existing building stock, maintaining, repairing, re-purposing and improving as necessary. All existing buildings contain embodied energy and the materials and construction skills of their builders.  It is important that existing buildings are maintained and kept wind and watertight even before further measures in relation to energy performance are considered. We support the objective that conservation will no longer be a niche activity but be mainstream, such that climate change will supersede heritage as the principal driver of environmental and building conservation. We support the principle that we must recycle all useful materials and ensure that as little as possible goes for landfill. The Society recognises that the historic environment is vulnerable and needs safeguarding with a careful balance between protection and managing change in a sustainable way. For example, many town centres are especially vulnerable to loss of quality buildings through neglect.  These can often be renovated to form new homes. The Society works in partnership with other organisations including Historic Environment Scotland, the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), Heritage Trust Network Scotland and local building preservation trusts. The AHSS was an early supporter of the building preservation trust movement in Scotland.  We regularly oppose the demolition of listed buildings in Scotland and work to seek new uses for buildings at risk.


‘The Climate Heritage Network is a voluntary, mutual support network of local and city, state/provincial and regional, indigenous peoples’, and national arts, culture and heritage governmental and quasi-governmental boards, offices, ministries and site management agencies as well as NGOs, universities, businesses and other organizations committed to aiding their communities in tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. The focus of the network is providing support to organizations from jurisdictions that have made concrete climate action pledges such as those in the Under 2 Coalition and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

The Network was conceived in 2018 at the Climate Heritage Mobilization at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit and was launched in Edinburgh in October 2019 at the Climate Heritage Network Global Launch.

Interested agencies, organizations and businesses can join by signing or endorsing the Climate Heritage Network MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). The MOU will not introduce new legal constraints on participants but will demonstrate clear commitment to support mobilization of the cultural heritage sector for climate action.’







National Study Tour 2020: ANGUS OR FORFARSHIRE – POSTPONED TO 2021


Due to the worsening virus epidemic and the forecast that the virus spread may reach its UK peak at the time of our tour, the AHSS co-organisers have come to the difficult decision that we must postpone the study tour.
We intend to offer the same tour over the equivalent weekend next year: Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May 2021.

The AHSS 2020 Spring Study Tour will be to Angus in north east Scotland, exploring the built heritage of the wider area. We will be based in the adjacent City of Dundee, starting with a coach pick-up at its new railway terminus, adjacent to the award winning new V&A Museum of Design. We will be accommodated in a recently converted Building at Risk, the category A-listed Bell Mill of 1866, designed by Baxter Bros company engineer Peter Carmichael, its bell tower modelled on that of the church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, now along with adjacent North Mill (1935), Dens Street Mill (1865) and St Roques Mill (c.1830s) forming the Lower Dens part of the world’s largest linen sailcloth and canvas manufacturers. It is now the Hotel Indigo, Daisy Tasker restaurant and adjacent Staybridge Apartments. Our city centre location (NE side) will allow us to make walking forays into Dundee.

This year, our National Study Tour will be led by Simon Green and Adam Swan and administered by Caroline McFarlane.

To note your interest, please return a completed form to the National Office, along with a deposit of £100 per person payable to AHSS by 30 November 2019. If you are applying for a single place but prefer to share a room please indicate this (and if possible with whom*) on the form below.

Download your booking form here


Brechin, by Gershom Cumming, Dundee, 1848


RIAS Convention & Doolan Award 2019: Climate of Opinion


Date: 4 – 5 October 2019
Venue: EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8EE
Price:  Convention – £99 RIAS members / £125 non-members / £50 concession – limited number
Combined (Convention & Dinner) – £147.60 (RIAS Member) £171 non-member
Dinner – £69 (single ticket) £600 – table of ten
(all prices + VAT and booking fee)

This year’s event combines the conference and Doolan Award for Best Building in Scotland. Climate of opinion takes place in Edinburgh with a full day of discussion, debate and celebration around designing for climate resilience, diversity and northern Europe. The Friday evening dinner will involve presentation of the Best Building in Scotland Award (presented by Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell) as well as a chance to relax with fellow delegates and convention speakers in the stunning surroundings of the National Museum of Scotland. The event will be rounded off on the Saturday morning with building visits and a city tour exploring some of Edinburgh’s award-winning architecture.

View confirmed speakers so far here
Book your ticket here


RIAS convention 2019 © Reiach & Hall Architects


Casework News from Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Cases Panel voice their concern about a worrying trend in the appeal process. Read their article and take part in the discussion.

The main text is provided below, or you can read the article in PDF format here 


12 February 2019

A worrying trend – Casework news from Dumfries and Galloway

Several recent cases in Dumfries and Galloway that seem to contradict historic buildings advice from the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland and the local authority planning department have been a cause for local concern. These are cases where the AHSS Cases panel have objected and the local authority have refused the application, twice supported by HES advice. Two cases have led to successful appeals, and the third is in progress. If all three are to prove contrary to what we consider to be the correct conservation approach our Panel, and possibly the planning department as well, will be left confused as to the way forward.

The first case is that of 1 Old Union Street, a Category B listed building in the centre of the Dumfries Conservation Area and concerns the replacement of eleven timber-framed casement two pane windows on the High Street elevation (of a non historic type) with white uPVC casement windows to match the existing design.

The Reporter’s decision was to allow the appeal, with the condition that a new design in uPVC should be approved by planning.

‘The council has referred to Dumfries and Galloway Local Development Plan policy on the Historic Environment – HE1 Listed Buildings. Supplementary Guidance on the Dumfries Conservation Area and the Historic Environment is also referred to. As this is an appeal against refusal of listed building consent not planning permission, development plan policies do not have the status afforded to them by section 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended). Nevertheless, the policies and guidance are a relevant consideration and I have taken them into account in reaching a decision.’

Legal advice has supported the Reporter’s view as expressed above. The end result is that uPVC windows are to be allowed on an important listed building in the historic core of the Dumfries Conservation Area apparently on the grounds that the building will be enhanced in appearance through the reintroduction of windows with glazing bars, to a design approved by planning, and the alien material will not matter because they are on first floor level and above. The decision is regrettable in that it undermines the locally approved policy of using traditional materials in these situations and thereby supporting skills needed for the proper maintenance of our historic buildings. It also makes the final details of design a matter between the appellant and the planners, rather than a matter for public comment. This decision reflects another recent appeal in Annan (Sussex House, listed B) where new uPVC windows were allowed, subject to approval of details by planners, because they were deemed an improvement on the existing uPVC windows.

The second case is that of the Old Manse, Thornhill where timber double glazed sashes were refused as replacements for the apparently original sashes on the grounds that no case had been made for the necessity of their replacement through a proper condition survey. Such a survey was eventually provided only for the Reporter who then allowed the appeal. The Reporter said, ‘I consider that the window condition survey as submitted by the appellant responds directly to the reason for refusal of the application and so could be considered as part of this appeal….The appellant has submitted no evidence of exceptional circumstances that prevented the timely submission of the window condition report, or any justification for the lack of response to the council’s request for a report under Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. While this could be considered unreasonable behaviour by the appellant, I am satisfied that the consideration of the window condition report as part of this appeal is appropriate as it directly addresses a reason for refusal, although the document was not before the planning authority at the time of its decision.’

This decision appears to set a dangerous precedent for the way cases with inadequate background information are dealt with, if the public and amenity bodies such as the AHSS lose the opportunity to study and comment on details of proposals. The Dumfries and Galloway Panel see many cases where there is no Design Statement, or with misleading or inadequate information to make a proper judgement. Condition surveys for windows have been particularly poor.

A third case is that of Meikle Dalbeattie Farmhouse, Dalbeattie, where retrospective listed building consent was refused for the total replacement of apparently original timber sash windows in a mid nineteenth century C listed farmhouse. The replacements are uPVC and of designs not matching the originals in any respect. This has gone to appeal and we await a decision.

HES guidance ‘Managing Change in the Historic Environment – Windows’ states

‘Generally, replacement windows should seek to match the original windows in design, form, fixing, method of opening and materials. In replacing sash windows, materials other than timber, e.g. uPVC, will rarely be acceptable. (page 18).

Despite the best efforts of the planning department to apply their approved policies, based on accepted best practice advice, the character of listed buildings and conservation areas continues to be eroded. Contractors continue to offer standardised inappropriate replacement windows and doors. At 10 Lovers Walk, in Dumfries Conservation Area, the doorway with overlight of a paired Victorian villa has been changed without planning permission. It now has an ill-matched uPVC door with an overlight of a different size from the immediately adjoining original doorway of the house next door, giving a completely unbalanced appearance. The council has refused retrospective consent and we wait to see the outcome.

We can only hope that our disappointments in Dumfries and Galloway are not being repeated across Scotland. Input from other regions would help build a national picture.


Dumfries and Galloway Cases Panel


Dundee Lecture TONIGHT

Andrew Wright will speak on the history of Clackmannanshire Estates

Tonight’s Dundee Conservation Lecture will be going ahead as planned, do please plan your travel route carefully if you are coming from areas still affected by snow.

We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information, please view the event page here


Festival of Architecture 2017

Continuing to celebrate Architecture – AHSS with the RIAS

If you enjoyed the Festival of Architecture 2016, you’ll be delighted to learn that the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland are bringing the festival back for a second year! FoA2017 will take place across Scotland throughout the month of September and will be exploring the theme of ‘home’. It will join the Scottish Civic Trust’s Doors Open Day events in making this a fantastic month to celebrate architecture.

Exhibitions to look out for include 100 Best Scottish Homes and a return of the popular Adventures in Space.

“This National celebration of great architecture will transform Scotland’s relationship with its built environment. It will improve our appreciation and understanding. It will also be fun!”

David Dunbar, former President of the RIAS and now Chair of the Festival of Architecture 2017

Find out more at www.festivalofarchitecture.scot or see our events planned for September HERE.


Falkland Craft Symposium 2017

Programme announced for the second annual festival of built heritage craft skills in Fife

Welcome to the 2nd Falkland Craft Symposium

This event builds on the success of the first Craft Symposium in August 2016. Friendships were formed and networks established which are even now bringing benefits to individuals, the locality and nationally.
There are many talented people working in Fife, Scotland and the UK although, at the same time, there is a distinct shortage of skills in some areas. Real efforts are being made to grow those skills so that the crafts can continue to bring joy into our lives while providing a livelihood for those who have dedicated their lives to particular crafts.
Without the traditional building crafts and a renaissance in understanding of the particular needs of old buildings, it will become increasingly difficult to look after the nation’s built heritage adequately. Fife and Falkland have their own particular parts to play in the encouragement of craft and conservation skills.
Each day of the Symposium has been arranged to have a distinctive flavour with two or more fields of craftsmanship being explored. This year there is an over-riding theme which is the craft skills represented by the built fabric and richly crafted interiors of the House of Falkland, which will play an important part in the event. The interiors have a double-layer characteristic which is fairly rare: the house was built 1839-44 for discerning patrons, Margaret and Onesipherous Tyndall Bruce; half a century later the estate was acquired by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, one of the greatest architectural and craft patrons of his age (1847-1900). Working through his architects, first William Frame (1848-1906)and then Robert Weir Schultz (1860-1951), the 3rd Marquess added a layer of Arts & Crafts richness during the 1890s while respecting to a remarkable degree the then unfashionable layer of the 1840s. How to preserve the special qualities of the interiors is one our current challenges.
In addition to the crafts skills represented by the House of Falkland we also pay attention to those traditional to a well-run Estate in Fife and in particular to thatch; other roofing materials such as pantiles and slates; stone masonry and carving; and the appropriate use of lime-based mortars.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings – a cause dear to John Ruskin’s heart – will be strongly represented both through the lecture programme and through the demonstrations of craftsmanship which will complement the lectures.
The William Morris Craft Fellowship represents, through the commitment and exceptional qualities of the craftspeople concerned, some of the best of the craft renaissance in Britain today. They are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year.
Members of Open Studios North Fife will be present to bear testimony to the rich cornucopia of craft-based activities, both professional and amateur, in our part of Fife.

We look forward to welcoming you all to the Craft Symposium.
Dr Peter Burman MBE FSA, Arts & Heritage Consultant
Craft Symposium Co-ordinator
Chairman of Falkland Stewardship Trust
Chairman of Falkland & Newton-on-Falkland Community Council

View the full programme and booking details here


Autumn Newsletter 2016

The latest news from the AHSS


Once again, it has been a very busy time for the AHSS since the mailing of our Spring 2016 magazine, particularly in this, our 60th Jubilee year!

The Forth & Borders Group are working very hard to protect the Royal High School in Edinburgh, the Dumfries & Galloway Group are running their photography competition, we have launched our new website, and with the help of our North East Group, we are excitedly preparing for our special Jubilee AGM. We do hope that you will be able to join us at Fyvie Castle in October.

As you may know, the AHSS was formed in 1956 to stop proposed demolition in Edinburgh’s George Square. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in this campaign, however in the following 60 years we have been successful in many others! To mark this momentous occasion we will be producing a special Jubilee publication this winter, instead of our usual Architectural Heritage Journal. The Journal will return in 2017. If you have any stories, memories or photos that you would like to be included please contact the National Office, we would be delighted to hear from you.

It has been a pleasure to participate in the Festival of Architecture 2016, if you have not been to any events yet, make sure that you do before the end of the year. www.foa2016.com

To find out more about what we have been up to, have a read of our latest news pieces and view all upcoming events here on our website.

Keep up to date with all AHSS activity by visiting our Facebook and Twitter.


Best wishes,

From all at the AHSS.

Did you receive a paper version of our newsletter? Let us know your email address and we can email it to you in the future!


60th Jubilee AGM Weekend

60 Years of protecting and promoting Scotland’s historic built environment!

Venue: Fyvie Castle
Time: 11am Saturday to 4pm Sunday
Cost: £70 (Discount available for Students)

To mark the occasion of the 60th Jubilee of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, our North East Group will host a wonderful weekend of celebrations.

Join us on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October 2016, in Aberdeen to celebrate our 60th Jubilee.

The AGM will take place at the spectactular Fyvie Castle on Saturday afternoon, followed by a tour, talk and 60th Jubilee Dinner in the Castle. Accommodation has been arranged at the historic Carmelite Hotel in Aberdeen’s Merchant Quarter. There will be a coach to transport members from the Carmelite hotel to lunch on Saturday, Fyvie Castle, and back to the hotel.

Sunday’s activities will include a visit to one of Aberdeen’s most historic private houses, Chaplain’s Court, a light lunch, talk on the history and heritage of Aberdeen, and photo opportunity outside our beloved Aberdeen Old Town House.

Members to arrange their own transport to Aberdeen on Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon.

Download the Booking Form here.

Download the 60th AGM Notice and Agenda.