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19 Sept 2019

Douse the House at Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece

Five children play with water pistols on the lawn in front of the Hill House, which is covered in the chainmail Box.
Douse the House takes place at the Hill House on Saturday 28 September.
We’re planning to test the waterproofness of the Hill House Box ... with water pistols!

In June 2019, we installed the world’s biggest chainmail structure around the Hill House in Helensburgh – Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece – to stop it dissolving ‘like a sugar cube’. But is it working?

To find out, we’re hosting what’s believed to be the first event of its type: a mass ‘wet weather test’! The public are invited to bring along water pistols to test whether the 32.4 million chainmail rings are doing what they’re supposed to.

The experiment takes place at 2.30pm on Saturday 28 September 2019 and anyone with a water pistol is welcome to join in the exercise. Entry to the Hill House grounds is free, so no booking is required. As a thank you for joining in the experiment, all attendees will be entitled to a voucher for free family access to the Hill House and Box any time throughout September and October.

A view of the Hill House Box from the garden on a bright sunny day. A sprig of laburnum hangs in the foreground.
The Hill House Box opened in June.
“We really need to test out the chainmail from all angles to see how it’s working.”
Emma Sweeney, Visitor Services Supervisor

Emma said: ‘We came up with the idea of the water pistol wet weather test as it’s something that everyone can get involved in and it should show how well the chainmail is doing its job.

‘Anyone with a water pistol – the bigger the better! – is invited to come down and douse the house. We’ll have our experts on hand to monitor the experiment and explain why the Box is needed.’

The Hill House Box is part of the National Trust for Scotland’s multi-million pound project to conserve this internationally renowned building and its interiors for generations to come. The roof and chainmail mesh are designed to shield the building from the elements, allowing the building to dry out and for crucial conservation work to take place.

The National Trust for Scotland works 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 2018–23, 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.

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