Recent speculation in Bo'ness
Journal and on this site that there had been a decision made to
close Kinneill Museum and transfer the majority of roman artifacts
to Callendar House in Falkirk prompted the Bo'ness Community Council
to hold a well-attended public meeting in the large meeting room
of Bo'ness Library.
Falkirk Council representatives
Present to outline the Heritage Strategy and answer questions,
from Falkirk Council, were Susan Selwyn, Head of Culture and Lifelong
Learning, Councillor Robert Speirs, Heritage Convener and local
Councillors, John Constable and Andrew Graham.
Local history perspective
Ian Scott from Falkirk Local History Society was also invited to
give an appreciation of the history of Kinneil, the estate and its
significance both locally, nationally and internationally.
Bill Bruce, Chairman of Bo'ness Community Council opened the meeting
by giving an outline of the remit & statutory responsibilities
of Community Councils in representing the feelings and views of
local community to local government and other bodies.
He introduced Ms Selwyn who outlined the heritage strategy
and empahsised that full consultation was proposed before any final
'decision' would be taken and that many factors had to be taken
into consideration. Her presentation followed much of what she had
covered in her Journal letter of 3 March.
Tourism, heritage & economic prosperity
Councillor Spiers outlined in general terms the aspirations
of the Heritage Committee stressing the importance of tourism and
heritage in the long term economic prosperity of all of the Falkirk
Again he emphasised the the consultative process which would be
undertaken particularly in relation to Kinneil Museum in light of
achieving World Heritage status.
Councillor Constable started by attacking this site and
others with 'peddling misinformation' by giving the impression
that any decision had been made to close Kinneil Museum.
This was despite his comments, highlighted by Adrian Mahoney,
Community Councillor later during the meeting, and reported
in Bo'ness Journal of 17 February, "... that closure of Kinneil
Museum was regrettable".
He took particular time to emphasise that there would be no decisions
made about closure or any other issue relating to Kinneil Museum
without the full and proper consultation with all the residents
Kinneil Museum would not close...
Councillor Constable stated that if the overwhelming
view of the people of Bo'ness was to keep Kinneil Museum open then
that is what would happen.
Impassioned call for vision
Ian Scott from Falkirk Local History Society
then gave an outline of Kinneil Estate and its history dating back
2000 years to the Roman occupation.
He outlined its more recent occupation by the Duke's of Hamilton,
its links with the industrial heritage of not only Scotland but
of the UK through its connections with James Watt and his cottage
in the grounds close to Kinneil House.
Mining & philosophical links
coal mining and Dr John Roebuck and as the home of one of Scotland’s
most famous philosophers Dugald Stewart who retired to Kinneil House,
Bo’ ness in 1809, at the invitation of his friend the Duke
New vision by Falkirk Council
He concluded, to rousing applause, by calling on Falkirk Council
to keep Kinneil Museum
open and focus on its Roman importance in light of achieving World
Heritage status for Antonine Wall by tearing up the Consultative
Draft - Heritage Strategy for the Falkirk Council Area 2006-11
and starting again with some real vision for the future development
of Kinneil and its Museum.
Comments from the floor
The meeting was opened up to the floor with first Ken Wright speaking
and webmaster, Bo'ness Web Site, Rob Willox thanking Ian Scott for
giving a presentation perfectly explaining why Kinneil Museum should
All publically available information
Mr Willox pointed out to Councillor Constable that all the information
that had been presented on the web site had been taken from publically
available documents and if Councillor Constable was able to provide
a transcript of his statement it also would be given equal coverage.
(Councillor Constable indicated he
had no transcript but a letter covering the points could be made
available.) [Ed. See letter received 11/03/06 and link below.]
Overwhelming support for retention
All the contributions from the floor were against any closure plans
and focused on the importance of Kinneil and the Museum in terms
of its history, as an educational resource, heritage & tourism
and the economic value of the the Antonine Wall and the World Heritage
There was a feeling that closure or any proposals for closure of
the Kinneil Museum would send the wrong message and could seriously
damage the prospect of achieving World Heritage status.
Falkirk Council's intentions
On a number of occasions, when doubts were expressed about Falkirk
Council intentions for Kinneil Museum, Councillor Constable re-iterated
his statement that no decision would be made without agreement of
the Bo'ness public.
Public show of hands
On a show of hands regarding closure of Kinneil Museum, requested
by Adrian Mahoney, Community Councillor, there was unanimous
and 100% support against any closure plans.