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Council plans to close Kinneil Museum

Kinneil Museum
Kinneil Museum
FALKIRK Council has announced controversial plans to close Kinneil Museum, on the edge of Bo'ness.
[give your opinion - take online poll]

The converted 17th century stable block currently is used as an interpretative centre for neighbouring Kinneil House and its estate.

James Watt & Antonine Wall

The surrounding area includes a cottage used by James Watt, a medieval church, and a Roman fortlet linked to the Antonine Wall, which runs through the estate.

Kinneil House
Kinneil House

The museum also provides information on the development of Bo'ness.

Transfer artefacts to Callendar House in Falkirk with small display in re-opened Hippodrome

According to a report in the Bo'ness Journal, the council propose to transfer Kinneil's Roman artefacts to Callendar House museum in Falkirk.

Remaining exhibits will go on display in the Hippodrome cinema, which is being re-opened to the public.

The council says there was "diminishing footfall" at Kinneil - and that "many fine exhibits deserve greater exposure".

Hippodrome Cinema
Hippodrome Cinema

Councillor Robert Spears said: "A key project in the ongoing transformation of Bo'ness, the Hippodrome will represent a major economic boost for the town and will place heritage and culture at the centre of everyday living."

But critics have questioned the council's proposals.

Bo'ness Community Councillor Adrian Mahoney said: "My understanding is that visitor numbers have actually being going up at Kinneil Museum. That's despite the council doing very little to promote the facility to visitors."

He added: "I have no problem with the restoration of the Hippodrome cinema. I fully support this work. But I can see no reason why it can't co-exist with the museum at Kinneil.

Fears for Roman Relics

"My understanding is that the Hippodrome would struggle to accommodate some of Kinneil's exhibits. And my real fear is that many exhibits - like our Roman relics - will simply be shipped off to Callendar House in Falkirk. Certainly this is what the local paper is suggesting."

World Heritage Site - Antonine Wall

The Scottish Executive is currently pressing for the Antonine Wall - which ends in Bo'ness - to become a World Heritage Area. [Ed. Some believe that there is evidence to support the claim that the Antonine Wall actually began at Carriden, Bo'ness.]

Local anger at Bo'ness heritage being moved to Falkirk

"It seems that if Falkirk Council get their way, all our Roman relics will be taken from the town and moved to Falkirk," said Mr Mahoney. "How this can be a positive step for the town is quite beyond me. I know a number of local people are angry at this plan, and I'd be interested for other visitors to the Bo'ness website to share their views."

Loss of facilities over the years

Kinneil Estate was bought for the people of Bo'ness in the 1920s, by the then Bo'ness Town Council. At one time, the historic grounds boasted not only the museum but a craft shop, a pitch-and-put green and pets' corner.

Historic Kinneil House was also open to the public. Over time, all these facilities have been closed down or removed.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PLANS TO CLOSE KINNEIL MUSEUM? Take part in our poll here.

Related Items

Read HERITAGE STRATEGY (October 2005) for the Falkirk Council Area 2006-11 here (pdf, 61k)

Read the Bo'ness Journal story here (opens new window)

Read the council's official statement here (opens new window)

Read about the Museum here (opens new window)

Read Local Plan (Bo'ness, November 2003) Background Information here

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