Newhailes House & Estate, Musselburgh
I directed the major programme of conservation works to this rare villa dating from 1686 with subsequent extension but had remained surprisingly unchanged since the early 19th century. Home to the Dalrymple family for many generations, it has close associations with the Scottish Enlightenment.
The plan was not to take the house back to a specific period but rather respect, conserve and interpret each layer while adopting an ‘as much as necessary, as little as possible’ philosophy to repairs and interventions. Innovative and sometimes controversial interpretive techniques were employed to explain this philosophy. A similar approach is now being taken to the rejuvenation of the historic designed landscape.
As Project Manager I successfully turned tensions between conservation and commercial/visitor needs into exemplar of integration and collaboration. Received every conservation award (including the top UK and a Europa Nostra awards) and was the first property in the Trust to gain 5 stars from VisitScotland and it received a VisitScotland Thistle Award.
From the outset of Newhailes being opened to the public the property has engaged with contemporary artists and Higher S6 school pupils, a programme that still continues today.