A significant milestone in a £1.1m project to repair and refurbish stonework and surrounding gardens at historic Preston Tower in Prestonpans is set to be reached with the removal of scaffolding.

The scaffolding has been in place to facilitate repairs to the external masonry of the tower. The dismantling of the scaffolding will be undertaken by a contractor who has indicated that this will take around four weeks. In the interests of everyone’s safety, access to the garden during this period will be from the east entrance only.

Work completed as part of the project to date includes significant repairs to the doocot and the installation of new interpretation boards with artist impressions of how the tower looked at different periods in its history.

A new seating area has been created in the gardens around a carved stone contemplation circle as well as new paths.

Preston Tower is a Historic Scheduled Monument, parts of which date back to the 15th Century. During the current repair project, great care has been taken at every stage to ensure that the works are sympathetic and sensitive to the structure and fabric of the building.

Traditional construction techniques and materials are required and the council has been working closely with specialist contractors and consultants to deliver an appropriate repair project with all of the works reviewed by Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

The final phase of the project - the installation of an external staircase to allow public access to the inside of the tower for the first time in over 40 years - is due to be completed in the Autumn subject to final consent from Historic Environment Scotland.

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 taken place.   

The repair project to the tower, doocot and gardens has been funded from a variety of sources including the Scottish Government through its Town Centre Fund and Place Based Investment Programme, as well as the UK Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund and by the National Trust for Scotland.

With the repair works at Preston Tower coming to an end the council are currently engaging with the local community to set up a guardianship group of volunteers who can accommodate regular opening of the Tower and provide visitors with additional interpretation of the site. If you are interested in getting involved please email connect-psg@eastlothian.gov.uk

Published: Wednesday, 26th April 2023