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22 Aug 2023

Why we love House of the Binns

Why we love House of the Binns


5 speakers: Helen Knox, Chimene Samson, Richard Ridgwell, Beth Moyes and Irene Allan

My name is Helen Knox. I am the Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust for Scotland at the House of the Binns.
The House of the Binns is situated just outside Linlithgow in West Lothian. It has been the home of the Dalyell family since 1612.
The House of the Binns contains many interesting items that you'll see on the tour.
It's very difficult to pick out a favourite item in this property -- there are just so many objects, but among my favourites is the portrait of Eleanor Dalyell, who gave the Binns to the Trust in 1944. Re-hung in the dining room against the burgundy background, her portrait really shines out.
You will see rooms that date from 1612, including the Blue Room, where you can see original Scottish Renaissance panelling; the morning and dining rooms, which have recently been renovated; and upstairs, the fantastic ceilings that were put in for the visit of Charles I.
I love the Binns not only because of the unique history of the house, but because of its location and the fabulous nature that we see every day at work.

My name is Beth and I'm the Collections Care Assistant here at the House of the Binns.
What's great about here is that because it surrounds the single family, there's lots of personal touches, which I really enjoy.
We have the charter of when the house is given to the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 1944, and Tam Dalyell MP signed it as a witness. He was about 13 and it's his little kiddy handwriting on the frame, which I just think is so sweet. I really enjoy that!
I love this place because it is full of surprises.
We're doing a lot of Collections Care work ongoing at the moment, and I keep uncovering hidden gems throughout the house.
There's little repairs on things that the family have done throughout the years, which just add this layer of emotion and human connection to the history that's here, that I think is really fascinating.

My name is Richard. I'm a Visitor Services Assistant here at House of the Binns.
I love House of the Binns because really there's so much to see here, and I don't just mean inside the house.
It's beautiful to see the changing weather over the hills that you can see across the Forth; the peacocks going by, often chasing the peahens, are endlessly entertaining; and of course you get the variety of meeting people from around the world who visit here, being able to share the history of the place with those people.

My name is Chimene Samson. I'm Visitor Services Supervisor for the National Trust for Scotland here at House of the Binns.
My favourite part of the House of the Binns is a story about Sir John Graham Dalyell, the 6th Baronet, and his very strange pet.
It was a pet sea anemone called Granny that he kept in a glass jar that had to be refilled twice a day with salt water. He fed her mussels, and on one night she gave birth to over 200 babies!
On your visit to House of the Binns you might spot some of our resident peacocks. They've been here for, we think, maybe 400 years.
There is a legend that says:
As long as there's peacocks, there's Dalyells; as long as there's Dalyells, there's peacocks.
And we certainly do have quite a few here.
I love working at House of the Binns because of the team and also the location.
It's such a stunning place to work. You come in and you instantly feel at peace and relaxed.
The team here are so friendly as well.
It's been a really amazing start to working for the National Trust for Scotland for myself.

My name is Irene and I am a Visitor Services Assistant here at the House of the Binns.
It is a fun job but what I really particularly like about this place is that at the end of the tour -- and I've not really experienced this elsewhere -- people hang around afterwards and they all chat to each other.
It's like they don't really want to leave the property.
I think that's a real compliment to the house itself but also to the staff who work here.
The stories that they've heard, they want to hear more and they're eager to come back again and again.
I think that's a testament to how interesting this place is.
I really love the House of the Binns because as soon as you turn off the road onto the estate here, you're suddenly transported into a whole different landscape, its rolling pasture lands.
And then as you come up to the house itself, you're going to see peacocks.
Sometimes there's buzzards; sometimes there's swifts and swallows that are flying around.
And the house itself is quite an unusual building.
When you first see it, you think is that a house? Is that a castle? What is this place?
And then as you turn around, the vista just opens out in front of you -- it really is stunning.
It's a glorious setting, and you understand immediately why they built this house here.

Rather unusual pets, 500-year-old boots, beautiful family portraits ... there are fascinating stories to discover in every corner of House of the Binns.

Set in landscaped parkland overlooking the River Forth, this fascinating laird’s house near Linlithgow has been the home of the Dalyells for over 400 years.

In this short film, the team there share some of the things that make House of the Binns a very special place to visit.

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