Anger as historic house in Bo'ness stays closed while other attractions open their doors
Popular visitor attraction Kinneil House will not be opening its doors for tours for the rest of 2021 as it does not meet “operating standards” to keep staff and visitors safe from COVID-19.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has taken the decision to open a number of its venues, including nearby Blackness Castle and LInlithgow Palace, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, but unfortunately Kinneil House, located on Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness, is not one of them.
Kinneil Museum, which is operated by Falkirk Community Trust, has also re-opened its doors.
A number of local people, annoyed and confused over Kinneil House remaining closed while these other attractions are allowed to open, got in touch with The Falkirk Herald to make their feelings known and find out the reason behind the house staying closed.
An HES spokesperson said: “Kinneil House normally only opens for guided tours on selected days throughout the year – usually around 14 days. These are run in partnership between Historic Environment Scotland and the Friends of Kinneil.
“Unfortunately we will not be running tours this year as the space inside the house does not meet our current minimum operating standards to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe from COVID-19.
“We will of course be engaging with The Friends of Kinneil to discuss plans for 2022.”
Kinneil House was once the principal seat of the Hamilton family in the east of Scotland.
It was saved from demolition in 1936 when 16th-century mural paintings were discovered.
The house, which is a category A listed building, consists of a symmetrical mansion built in 1677 on the remains of an earlier 16th or 15th century tower house, with two rows of gunloops for early cannon still visible. A smaller east wing, of the mid 16th century, contains the two painted rooms
The house lies within a public park, which also incorporates a section of the Roman Antonine Wall and the only visible example of an Antonine fortlet available today,
At various weekends throughout the year the house normally opens its doors to the public for guided tours, featuring volunteer guides from the Friends of Kinneil and HES staff.