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23 Nov 2018

Box build begins at Hill House

The ground has been broken on the Hill House project.
The Hill House Team were joined by Ruth Currie, granddaughter of Walter Blackie (for whom the Hill House was built), as ground was broken in Helensburgh.
Work has started at the Hill House in Helensburgh on the Trust’s innovative plan to save the building.

The Hill House team were joined by a special visitor yesterday to mark the start of the pioneering Hill House Box project.

Ruth Currie, granddaughter of Walter Blackie (for whom the house was built), came along to put a special spade in the ground at the Helensburgh site.

Since it was built more than a century ago, the striking house has been absorbing the rain, putting the building and its unique interiors at risk.

Now our conservation charity is surrounding the building with an innovative chainmail structure, which will protect it from the elements.

This semi-permeable metallic mesh pavilion, designed by award-winning architects Carmody Groarke, will allow the building to dry out over a number of years. In doing so, further conservation work can be commenced to save this world-famous house for generations to come.

The Box will protect the Hill House from the elements.
The Box will protect the Hill House from the elements.
“What we’re doing here is a rescue plan for the long term and will, we’re sure, protect this incredible building for future generations.”
Richard Williams, General Manager for Glasgow and West

The house and gardens will be closed to the public during the construction of the Box but are expected to reopen in late spring 2019, complete with new raised walkways around the exterior of the house and over the roof. These will give visitors a completely new way of experiencing the Hill House and Mackintosh’s design, as well as offering stunning views over the Clyde estuary. A community hut will also be open on site regularly over the winter, giving visitors the chance to drop in and see how the build is progressing.

Richard added: ‘Mackintosh was a pioneer and a visionary and we’re reflecting that spirit in our approach to saving his domestic masterpiece. This is a project that has been many, many years in the making and it is wonderful to be at the point that we’re now seeing work begin to save such a significant place.’

Thousands of people have already donated to the charity’s Box the Hill House campaign which launched in February 2018.