Scotland’s new national building conservation centre officially open

Scotland’s New National Building Conservation Centre, The Engine Shed in Stirling
Scotland’s New National Building Conservation Centre, The Engine Shed in Stirling

Based at Forthside Way in Stirling, the Engine Shed seeks to ensure the knowledge, skills and materials are available to look after the important cultural and economic asset that is Scotland’s 450,000 traditional buildings.

The new learning and visitor resource was officially opened by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and will serve as the national conservation hub, using world-leading innovation to bring Scotland’s built heritage to life through technology and hands-on activities.

With sustainability at the heart of the building’s conservation, the former MOD munitions store has been respectfully adapted, retaining much of the original fabric and character of the original building while demonstrating how traditional materials can be used in a modern context in two extensions, also incorporating modern technologies to enhance its energy efficiency.

The centrepiece of the main space is a large-scale map of Scotland compiled from hi-resolution satellite images, from which visitors can access additional information using an iPad as an augmented reality device. With interactive exhibits, a 4K 3D auditorium and augmented reality experiences, the Engine Shed aims to spark the public’s passion and interest with Scotland’s historic environment and inspire a new generation to be interested in traditional buildings.

The Engine Shed will be home to Historic Environment Scotland’s building conservation research and education facility, which will share its world class expertise with national and international partners in building conservation.

People across Scotland are being invited to visit the Engine Shed as it unveils a summer programme of events designed to encourage a greater understanding of Scotland’s historic buildings and traditional craft skills, as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Workshops will include creating pieces inspired by Mackintosh’s designs currently on temporary display at the Engine Shed, which were recovered from the fire that affected The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building in 2014.

Chair of Historic Environment Scotland Jane Ryder said: “Today’s opening marks a significant milestone in the journey of Historic Environment Scotland and the Engine Shed is a visible demonstration of our commitment to both leading and supporting the vital heritage economy.

“It is the result of great collaboration and partnership working, and thanks must go to the Scottish Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund and the Historic Scotland Foundation, who have supported us in delivering this unique facility. In particular, thanks must go to our partners at Stirling Council for providing us with the building, which I hope will play a key role in continuing to maximise the potential of heritage-led regeneration through their broader city deal.

“This world-class facility is a wonderful living classroom with science and technology at its core, demonstrating that innovation can be inspired by the past. The Engine Shed is about thinking differently and challenging perceptions, which will act as a catalyst and a beacon for the historic environment.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: “The new Engine Shed will couple state-of-the-art technology and world-leading innovation with our historic building traditions, inspiring a new generation to learn the traditional skills and use the authentic materials that will help to keep Scotland’s history alive.

“The Scottish Government has proudly supported this ambitious project since its very beginning, underlining the importance we place on protecting, preserving and promoting our rich history, heritage and built environment.

“I am particularly pleased to open the Engine Shed during Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The centre will help to provide a lasting legacy for the year, increasing knowledge and understanding of the values of our precious historic environment.” 

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland Lucy Casot, said: “What is being done at the Engine Shed is leading the way, not just in Scotland but in the UK. We need people with traditional building skills to look after our heritage. Without them, historic buildings, whether it’s the local bank or a national monument, will crumble. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, we have been able to support this centre of excellence which will ensure that a new generation is equipped with the skills to care for the fabric of our nation.”

Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer said: "Stirling Council has been delighted to support the development of The Engine Shed since the project's inception and look forward to working closely on it with our partners Historic Environment Scotland. This adds another world class attraction to Stirling which will have a big impact economically, culturally and socially across the whole area.”

The Engine Shed will open its doors to the public on Monday 3 July and the building is open Monday to Saturday, between 10am-4pm. Entry is free. The building will be available to hire as a conference space, with room for up to 200 delegates.

For further information please visit the Engine Shed website.


Historic Environment Scotland:

We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.

Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925.

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners. Get involved on Twitter with #HHA2017.

You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts here. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

The Engine Shed:

At the very forefront of conservation, the Engine Shed will provide a central hub to engage the next generation with our historic environment and the value of protecting and preserving it, whilst helping to ensure a safe and sustainable future for our rich built heritage.

Due to open its doors in summer 2017, the Engine Shed will be the test lab for developing activities and resources which can then be rolled out for use across the country and will help to support and enable the work of partners across a range of sectors spanning heritage, construction, education and training and many other related fields.

The Engine Shed has received funding from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Scottish Government’s Young Scots Fund, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the difference made up by Historic Environment Scotland.

The Engine Shed will house Historic Environment Scotland’s Technical Outreach and Education, Conservation Science, and Digital Documentation teams, strengthening the link between research, education, and technology to increase an understanding of buildings and materials.

The development of the Engine Shed will create a network of conservation centres linking with Historic Environment Scotland’s masonry training centres in Elgin and Forth Valley College and the applied conservation unit at South Gyle, Edinburgh.

Further information

Please contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870 638/07779 142 890 ( or Jon Williams on 0207 591 6035 (