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7 Jun 2018

Boxing the Hill House


That house is just dissolving.

Left alone, it would just cease to be.

It would fall apart, which nobody wants, so action of some sort has to be taken.

Because that everything that has to be done there will be controversial, it turns a spotlight on that location and on the Trust.

And I am just absolutely enthralled by watching what happens there.

The concept, so simple and yet so perfect, and the opportunity for the people to watch.

And because the people of Scotland are going to have the opportunity to watch, then I think it's only right that the people should contribute.

We have a brave plan to Box the Hill House and save it for future generations.

We work every day to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we protect all of this For the Love of Scotland.

In Our Strategy for Protecting Scotland’s Heritage 2018–2023, we set out how we’re planning to work towards our vision that Scotland’s heritage is valued by everyone and protected now, and for future generations.

An artist's impression of the enormous chainmail structure designed to fit over the Hill House.
One of our biggest projects is our ambitious plan to Box the Hill House.

During the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth in 2018, we plan to build a ‘box’ around the Hill House, where the sandstone structure is dissolving under its cement render.

The box will shield this iconic property in Helensburgh from the rain. Made from fine stainless-steel mesh, it will envelop the whole of the house and part of its gardens, allowing the walls to dry out and solutions to be researched and implemented.

This bold solution will tackle the 100+ year old problem of damp that has beset the innovative design since it was built for the Blackie family in the early 20th century.

Simon Skinner, Chief Executive for the Trust said:

‘As our President Neil Oliver put it, the Hill House is in danger of “dissolving like an aspirin in a glass of water”. We are building what amounts to a shield around and above the Hill House to keep wind and rain out, and give the building a chance to dry.’

This pioneering approach to protect the Hill House fits well with Mackintosh’s own style, which was at the cutting edge of design and technology at the time.

Our Box the Hill House appeal is raising vital funds to support this amazing project, which is the first of its type in Scotland and shows the Trust taking a truly creative approach to protecting Scotland’s heritage.