Preston Tower and Gardens in Prestonpans is holding special events to showcase the work that has been carried out at this historic landmark as part of Doors Open Day 2022 (24 September 2022). 

As well as celebrating the past, the event will also look to the Tower’s future

A £1.1m project is currently underway at Preston Tower to repair and refurbish the stonework and the surrounding gardens. 

As part of Doors Open Day, the public is invited to come and see the work done so far at Preston Tower and Gardens in Prestonpans and to discover more about the rich history and heritage of Prestonpans. Alongside the repaired doocot, new information boards have been provided with artistic impressions of how the tower looked at different times in history. Plans for the new stair access to the tower will also be on display and there will be an opportunity to learn more about both the project and the history of the tower, doocot and gardens. The events run from 11am-3pm.

Work has also taken place on the gardens so guests will be able to enjoy the new seating area around a carved stone contemplation circle and the new paths that will allow access for all within the gardens. The gardens, along with the path linking the town’s West Loan to East Loan, will reopen from 23 September.

Preston Tower is a Historic Scheduled Monument, parts of which date back to the 15th Century. During the current restoration project, great care has been taken at every stage to ensure that the works are sympathetic and sensitive to the structure. Traditional construction techniques and materials are required and the council has been working closely with specialist contractors and architects with all works overseen by the National Trust for Scotland. The project has been running in phases with the Doocot to be completed in Autumn and works to consolidate the Tower due to complete early next year. The final phase, to install an external staircase, is due to be completed in Spring 2023. 

Cabinet member for Community Wellbeing Councillor Colin McGinn said: “This is a great opportunity for members of the public to return to Preston Tower and see the progress that has been made, and to enjoy the gardens. Working on a Scheduled Ancient Monument is a complex undertaking and I am grateful to all those who are involved for their efforts to preserve this structure for future generations.

“As well as celebrating the past, the event will also look to the Tower’s future with discussions around the creation of a Trust or community organisation, and information for people who might be interested in becoming involved in managing the gardens and buildings, organising future events or guiding visitors around the area when work is completed. 

“I hope that the community will enjoy this chance to learn more about the heritage on their doorsteps as part of Doors Open Day and Salt of the Earth Heritage Connections.”

Prestonpans Community Council secured initial funding for survey work looking at Preston Tower. Salt of the Earth Heritage Connections, a community network linked to the Area Partnership and funded by The Great Places scheme, has also been a key partner in the development work at Preston Tower, building on the initial work which has taken place. The Great Place Scheme has been devised and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in consultation with organisations involved in regeneration to ensure it responds to the specific needs of Scottish places, from city-wide initiatives to smaller, rural schemes. The event at Preston Tower is just one of a number of events happening on 24 September to celebrate Doors Open Day and Salt of the Earth’s work in the last three years.

Jordan Irvine, Chair, Salt of Earth Heritage Network said: “Salt of the Earth is delighted to partner with a range of heritage groups in PSG and we look forward to working with the community to continue to explore and celebrate our rich heritage. The Heritage Weekend allows time to highlight some of the great work over the last three years. Preston Tower has been a key project since the group’s inception and we are delighted to see the progress being made.”

Other heritage events will be held at Cockenzie House, Pennypit Centre, Port Seton Centre and Longniddry Community Centre. Find out more from the Salt of the Earth website.

Published: Wednesday, 21st September 2022