Full Steam Ahead: Free Event to Celebrate James Watt Cottage

 James Watt

Members of the public are being invited to enter a world of invention and imagination at Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness on Saturday, September 30th.

With over 800 votes, James Watt Cottage in Bo’ness was recently crowned as one of Scotland’s six most spectacular Hidden Gems as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

An event called “Imagine James Watt” will celebrate this win with a free day of storytelling and activities at the site.

On Saturday, September 30th, Imagine James Watt will take place in the grounds of Kinneil Estate from 10am to 4pm.

Visitors can join interpreters playing Watt and his business partner for storytelling tours, rebuild the site in LEGO, create the cottage of the future in Minecraft or add their own thoughts and images to the Impact Wall. The neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open early to support the event, click here to find out more about this attraction. 

The event has been organised by Dig It! 2017, in association with The Friends of Kinneil charity, as part of Scottish Archaeology Month.

Ian Shearer from The Friends of Kinneil said:


“Our thanks to so many people who rightly recognised the significance of this little building for technology and innovation, and voted the Watt Cottage one of Scotland’s Hidden Gems. Come along to Saturday's free event to find out more about its fascinating 250-year-old story, take part in fun activities, visit the Museum and see other historical features in Kinneil Estate's beautiful parkland.

Family activities include LEGO and Minecraft - that's a good name when you think of the area's mining past -  and storytelling of how and why James Watt and Dr John Roebuck partnered together to develop the condensing engine in secret at Kinneil!”


The James Watt Cottage may well be the only surviving building in Scotland with a direct link to Watt’s life and work.

The partnership between this legendary engineer and Dr John Roebuck – who lived at Kinneil House - led to their patent for the separate condenser, which was used in the Watt steam engine, a key point in the Industrial Revolution.

The James Watt Cottage was used as his secluded workshop for the ongoing development of their engine and there are no better surviving monuments to the story of their world-changing work in the 1760s.

The “Scotland in Six – Hidden Gems” campaign drew in over 12,000 votes in total and was coordinated by Dig It! 2017, the year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology.

To learn more about the event, visit Kinneil Estate's website or their Facebook.