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Case Studies

Dymock's Building

Dymock's Building in Bo'ness was restored and adapted by the Little Houses Improvement Scheme (part of the the Buildings department), between 2002 - 2004. The Scheme exists to acquire, repair and then sell on neglected and dilapidated buildings. This promotes the renewal of once redundant structures and helps to regenerate declining towns and burghs, or key areas within them, in which many of the buildings are sited.

The conservation project on Dymock's Building began in 1997 when the NTS purchased the building and began initial archaeological research. Over a period of seven years, over 100 people were connected with the conservation project.

Dymock's was chosen by LHIS the following reasons:

• it was a building at risk
• it was an important part of the history of that community
• it was of significance to the local community
• its restoration would improve the townscape
• it could be adapted to a sustainable new use

Dymock's Building is not generally open to the public, though the common room is available for use by local clubs and societies. The building is now owned and managed by the Castle Rock Housing Association for the benefit of elderly residents in Bo'ness.

Why save Dymock's Building?

When the NTS acquired Dymock's Building in 1997, it was derelict. Why did we decide to save it?

1. Dymock's stands within the centre of the old burgh of Bo'ness which is a conservation area.

2. Documentary, pictorial and archaeological investigation revealed that the building had a long and complex history which reflected the history of Bo'ness.

3. The first documented evidence of the building was in 1650; originally a merchant's house standing next to the harbour, it is a monument to the importance of Bo'ness as a port.

4. Its history follows the rise and fall of the merchants and local industrialists in this area of Scotland - with the growth and decline of industries such as salt, coal and ceramics.

5. Its site, adjacent to the harbour in the 1600s but now far back from the Forth, illustrates the way a townscape may be altered (in this case with a continuous process of silting and infill in the harbour) and how this alters the way a building is used.

6. The Trust is a charity and, before any conservation work can begin, we need to fund the project. Dymock's Building could not have been saved without the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Christina Mary Hendrie Trust, Castle Rock Housing Association, Falkirk Council, Dr. K.M. Cobban Bequest, several NTS Members Centres, and also Landfill Tax funding through Falkirk Environmental Trust (via EB Scotland and the Shanks First Fund).

Conserving Dymock's Building

When the Trust purchased the building in 1997 it had been derelict for many years. The exterior walls and main fabric of the building were intact, though much altered and in poor repair. Little had survived internally, where ceilings and floors had collapsed and many internal wall finishes and architectural features were lost altogether. A panelled room from about 1720 survived in part, though was badly damaged by fire and theft.

Following an assessment of the building's significance a conservation policy for the building was developed. We decided to restore the exterior of the building, which included the reconstruction of some features that had been lost in the previous fifty or so years (such as the dormer windows). Internally the building was adapted to accommodate eight modern flats for the elderly. The original panelling that had survived in one room was restored and missing panels reconstructed to complete the room.

Dymock's Building is situated in the centre of Bo'ness.