Falkirk area Doors Open Day 2015

Buildings in Scotland that are not normally accessible to the public are opened free of charge over the weekend of 19th & 20th September as part of the Doors Open Days scheme this year.

Coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust as part of the wider European Heritage Days initiative, Doors Open Days events are designed to stimulate interest in the built environment and cultural heritage of the area.

Doors Open Days in the Falkirk area are coordinated by the Falkirk Community Trust, which would like to express its gratitude to all of the owners or agents who, by opening their buildings to the public, make the Doors Open Days event possible. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the volunteers who man the venues and provide guides.


Falkirk Masonic Lodge

Location: Masonic Lodge, Lint Riggs, Falkirk, FK1 1DG

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:30, Sun 20/09 - 12:00-16:30

Parking: Available throughout Falkirk town centre

Disabled access: Wheelchair user access to principal floor by the churchyard of Trinity Church

In 1903 Lint Riggs was reconstructed using design parameters laid down by burgh engineer David Ronald and it is consequently the most architecturally consistent street in the area with a Continental feel. The dominant building is the Masonic Temple with its classical Corinthian style under a balustrade. It is the only Masonic Temple in the district and was completed in 1906 for Lodge Callendar No.588, the second lodge of freemasons to be established in the town. The internal decoration and furnishing is very interesting, especially the five outstanding painted windows with their floral patterns; each represents a Principal Office Bearer namely - The Right Worshipful Master in the centre flanked on either side by the Worshipful Senior and Junior Wardens. The two Wardens are flanked on their other side by windows for the Senior and Junior Deacons.

Open courtesy of Lodge Callendar No. 588.


Kinneil House

Location: Kinneil House, Kinneil Estate, Provost Road, EH51 0PR

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 12:00-15:00

Parking: Nearby, in the Estate park

Disabled access: Wheelchair user access to ground floor only

Toilets: Available

The House or Palace of Kinneil was built as the seaside residence of the James Hamilton the second Earl of Arran. Here it benefited from being close to Linlithgow Palace as well as Edinburgh. Arran was the Protector and Governor of Scotland from 1542-54 during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots, and it was then that he started work on the House.

There were two main elements to the work - defensive features such as an unusually tall tower house, gun ports and outworks; and comfortable living

quarters reflecting the latest in luxury, including panelled ceilings and painted walls. The first floor of the west wing contained the principal rooms such as an audience room, bedchamber, withdrawing chamber, and possibly a chapel. The bed chamber is now known as the Arbour room from the recess for the bed 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.

In 1677 Anne Duchess of Hamilton began a programme of renovation, producing the house as it appears today. By the late 18th century the house was being let. Dr John Roebuck lived here 1764- 94. Dugald Stewart the philosopher was the last tenant 1809-1828.

The House is set in magnificent grounds, now part of a country park, replete with bridges, haw-haws, gate piers and stables. Open courtesy of Historic Scotland and the Friends of Kinneil.


Russel + Aitken Offices

Location: King's Court, Falkirk, FK1 1PL

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:30, Sun 20/09 - 12:30-16:00

Parking: Car parks are available in the town centre

Disabled access: There are two steps at the doorway

Toilets: Nearby in the Howgate Shopping Centre

James Aitken began practising as a lawyer in Falkirk in 1792 and in 1818 was joined by James Russel. The premises, from the very beginning, were in Kings Court - named after a public house called the King’s Arms. The firm of Russel + Aitken is therefore probably the oldest one in Scotland to be operating under the same name and from the same site - it’s been almost 200 years!

James Russel was also a businessman involved in the industrial growth of the town. Amongst his other interests he was the manager of the

Falkirk Banking Company. His portrait still hangs in the offices.

The offices were built for the firm and looking from the courtyard it often strikes the passer by as odd that there is a lot of wall between the windows and the roof. This is because there is a stone vault over the ground floor rooms designed to make them fire safe and burglar proof - useful for the valuable legal documents - hence also the shutters.

Over the years the offices have been extended and now reach through to Cow Wynd and the 1993 façade designed by William Cadell. Consequently there are numerous levels within the building.

This is an opportunity to see inside the town centre premises without taking out a legal case. The pictures and documents are worth a visit in their own right. Tours will be guided.

Please note access for the weekend will be by the Kings Court entrance. Open courtesy of Russel + Aitken.


The Falkirk Steeple

Location: Falkirk Steeple, High Street, Falkirk, FK1 1NW

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:30, Sun 20/09 - 12:30-16:30 (booking is essential: 01324 506850)

Parking: Car parks are available in the town centre

Disabled access: None. Access is by a steep spiral stair.

Toilets: Nearby in the Howgate Shopping Centre

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.

Today the ground floor is used as the booking office for local events. During this weekend there will be an opportunity to inspect the two prison cells (lockups). These retain their original reinforced doors and traces of the iron cladding of both the ceilings and the floors. People had escaped from the previous tolbooth, but this was not going to happen here! Please note that access is to the first and second floors of the building only, by a small spiral staircase. You will need to be able to ascend and descend the stairs. We reserve the right to refuse access in reasonable circumstances. Booking essential (Steeple box office).

To enable it to open to the public, work on the building has been supported by the Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative. Further work will be undertaken in future years. Open courtesy of Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust.


St. Mary's of the Angels Church

Location: St. Mary's of the Angels, 100 Glasgow Road, Camelon, Falkirk, FK1 4HJ

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:30, Sun 20/09 - 12:30-16:30

Parking: Car park beside the church off Watling Street

Disabled access: Wheelchair access

Toilets: Available

This unusual church was designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia in 1960-1 and includes a presbytery to the rear. From outside the distinguishing features are the use of banded yellow firebrick, irregular rectilinear windows, deep wooden boarding and flat copper roofs. The entrance is through the low western aisle. Inside the rays of light from the clerestory windows play across the twin pillars that separate the aisle from the eight-bay nave. Deep laminated beams - a speciality of the Grangemouth firm of Muirheads - enrich the ceiling and are echoed by the pine pews. The baptistery provides a separate focal point. The furniture is modern, with clean lines, presenting an uncluttered but warm space for the congregation.

Open courtesy of St. Mary of the Angels.


St. Andrew's West Church

Location: St. Andrew's West Church, Upper Newmarket Street, Falkirk, FK1 1JH

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:30, Sun 20/09 - 13:30-16:30

Parking: Car parks available in town centre

Disabled access: Wheelchair access to the nave and aisle

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.

The congregation’s war memorial is on the organ casing, and the roll of honour is in the main stair. Open courtesy of St. Andrew's West Church.


Struthers Memorial Church

Location: Struthers Memorial Church, 1 Mission Lane, Falkirk, FK1 1PN

Opening times: Sat 19/09 - 10:00-16:00

Parking: Car parks available in town centre

Disabled access: Wheelchair access into the church through the Almond Tree Coffee Shop, as well as a handrail at the main entrance.

Refreshments: The Almond Tree Coffee Shop will be open.

The foundation stone for the new Falkirk Town Mission was laid on 10th September 1898. Amazingly, almost all of the money for it, about £1600, was raised at a grand bazaar in the Town Hall that year.

The original plans by Alexander Gauld were modified when the mission was given a bell from Falkirk Steeple - the tower was provided with a louvred belfry instead of a dome. The church has a horseshoe balcony, reached by a stair in the tower. A library (now a crèche) and meeting rooms were placed to the front of the building.

The Town Mission closed its doors for the last time in March 1985. On 12th December 1986 they re-opened as the Struthers Memorial Church and remain so to this day. Open courtesy of the Struthers Memorial Church.

Published on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015

Contact us

Falkirk Community Trust
Falkirk Stadium
4 Stadium Way
Falkirk
FK2 9EE

01324 590900

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