Plans for restoration work at historic Preston Tower are taking shape.

A number of improvements are planned at the late Medieval towerhouse - which was originally constructed in the 15th century and then repaired and extended upwards in the 17th century – and nearby doocot.

Restoration of the buildings in Prestonpans is focused on improving access and encouraging more people to visit in future while contributing to local regeneration. 

Due to evidence of protected species at the site, the project will to be delivered in two phases.

The first phase will see the restoration of the doocot and the installation of new architectural lighting and the installation of new interpretation/information boards are all planned, which will be developed in collaboration with the local community.

The project, which is expected to cost up to £900,000, is being supported by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund and progressed by East Lothian Council in collaboration with building owners the National Trust for Scotland and with the support of the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership, and the National Lottery-funded Great Place Project. 

A project manager from building surveyors Doig and Smith has been brought on board to lead the project team, as well as project consultant Groves Raines Architects.

Tom Reid, Head of Infrastructure, East Lothian Council:

“We’re pleased that the project team is making good progress with this project to enhance a much-loved local landmark. The tower and nearby doocot have been in need of repair work for some time, with improvements required to various walls.

“The focus is to enable safe access inside parts of the buildings, whilst also improving the interpretation and understanding of the buildings to help shine a light on their local and national significance.

“There are also aspirations to link the site with others in the area as part of a wider heritage network. It’s all about maximising the potential of the site and I’m sure this will be a great benefit to the local community.

“The likely presence of protected species and their habitats at the site means the work needs to be programmed in such a way that they are not disturbed.”

“This is a significant project for the community and we will be working closely with key stakeholders to take this forward.”

The National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Executive, Phil Long OBE said:

“Preston Tower lies quietly now but has played a part in our national story for many centuries, torched as part of the Rough Wooing by the forces of Henry VIII, again by Oliver Cromwell in 1650, and sketched by Turner on one of several of his expeditions to Scotland in the early 19th century.

“And so it’s exciting that, through the work of this partnership, the Tower is receiving new attention, conserved and cared for and provided with information to help understanding of its remarkable story.

“I’m very grateful indeed to the Scottish Government, East Lothian Council, the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership and local community and the National Lottery for their support in making this possible.”

The Preston Tower project is one of three planned heritage led projects in Prestonpans the others being major investment at Prestongrange museum to build a new engine shed and the re-landscaping of War Memorial square. Read more about these projects here.





Published: Monday, 22nd March 2021