Restored Penicuik House gains national recognition

Architect James Simpson (left) and Sir Robert Clerk in front of Penicuik House, which was restored following a 30 year project.
Architect James Simpson (left) and Sir Robert Clerk in front of Penicuik House, which was restored following a 30 year project.

The historic Penicuik House in Midlothian has been commended in the 2016 Restoration Award, presented by the Historic Houses Association.

The house, on the Penicuik Estate, was gutted by fire in 1899 and over the decades fell into ruin.

The project to conserve what remains of the 18th century building was started more than 30 years ago.

The Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restoration Award recognises and celebrates the work being undertaken by members of the HHA throughout the UK. These projects reflect the dedication of owners to the care and sympathetic restoration of the incredible buildings that they own, inhabit and share with the public.

While this year’s winning project was Combermere Abbey in Shropshire, Penicuik House was one of three runners up.

Sir Robert Clerk, one of the trustees of Penicuik House Preservation Trust, said: “We are thrilled that the Old Penicuik House’ project, which has saved one of Scotland’s most influential Scottish Enlightenment houses, has been marked by the Historic Houses Association with a special commendation in their 2016 Restoration Awards.

“The project, which took six years to complete and provided numerous masonry training opportunities, was the first stage of an extensive 25 year programme of work to be undertaken to built structures within the designed landscape at Penicuik House.

“The trust and its professional advisors are delighted with the honour and recognition shown by this prestigious award.”

Richard Compton, president of the Historic Houses Association, said: “The work undertaken to consolidate the remains of this important 18th century house is hugely impressive, and a large number of people have learned valuable skills throughout the process.

“We hope people will continue to enjoy and learn from this wonderful house.”

The Penicuik Estate has been home to the Clerk family since 1654, with Penicuik House being designed and built in the 1760s by Sir James Clerk, 3rd Baronet of Penicuik. It was extended with two large wings in 1857 by the Victorian architect David Bryce. The house was one of the finest neo-Palladian houses in the country.

The preservation trust was established in 1985 to begin preserving the structure and to allow public access to the ruined house for the first time in over a century. The project took place alongside the Scottish Lime Centre Trust.

Work began in 2007 and was completed almost two years ago. Today, the house exists in a state of conserved ruination, with a Ranger Service to welcome visitors.