An ambitious £260,000 restoration of Pittencrieff House, one of Dunfermline’s most historic buildings, gets under way this week. To mark its 400th birthday, the exterior of the house is undergoing major restoration which is expected to be complete by the autumn.
The work is being undertaken by Fife Council’s historic buildings squad, who have just completed a lottery funded project on the Tolbooth in Dysart. They will be supported by the Scottish Lime Centre in nearby Charlestown, who will deliver on-site training. The work is funded by Fife Council, who manages Pittencrieff House Museum and by the Dunfermline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).
The works being undertaken are to the exterior of the buildings so the museum will remain open to visitors throughout the project.
Like many historic buildings in the last century, Pittencrieff House has been repaired with modern cement rather than traditional lime in the past. But cement traps moisture in old stone buildings and damages them. The cement was removed in 2007 and the stonework has been exposed since then.
This has given the team a rare opportunity to examine the condition of the building – as well as to find traces of previous lime renders and coloured lime washes. The new colour – to be unveiled in the autumn – will be based on traces found on the building.
Before the new lime harl is applied, some important repairs will be carried out. Chimneys that have been previously repaired with bricks will be reinstated in stone. Windows will be overhauled and repaired. The armorial panel above the front door will be conserved and paint scrapes will be taken to try and find out its previous colour.
Emmie Jordan, Pittencrieff House Museum Supervisor said, “Pittencrieff House has a special place in the hearts of people both at home and overseas. To see it regain its former splendour in the year generally believed to be the house’s 400th anniversary is wonderful.”
Councillor Joe Rosiejak, Chair of the City of Dunfermline Area Committee, said: “This is an exciting project for Dunfermline and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished product later in the year. I'm also pleased that Fife Council tradesmen and apprentices will get the chance to improve their traditional skills by working on this project.”
The project is one of a programme of improvements being funded through the £1.8 million Dunfermline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which is a partnership between Fife Council and Historic Scotland.
CARS is being delivered over five years and funding will be used in four key areas, to:
- Provide grants to renovate historic buildings
- Provide grants to businesses to improve their shop fronts
- Carry out improvements to wynds and closes
- Provide information and training for the repair and care of traditional buildings