Historic Scotland's Engine Shed – building conservation centre

Construction of Historic Scotland’s Engine Shed project at Forthside, Stirling, is taking shape with first stages of interior restoration and foundations of two new sheds complete.

The ambitious £8.9 million project is transforming an unused former railway building into a world-leading education centre for building conservation in Scotland.

When it opens in summer 2016, the new centre will offer technical conservation courses on traditional building skills and materials, craft demonstrations, workshops, hand-on tutorials, exhibitions, summer schools, expert surgeries and weekend and evening events – providing opportunities to engage members of the public with conservation and heritage.

Central to the design of the project is the retention of the existing Engine Shed building, with the addition of two new contemporary sheds either side.  Historic Scotland project manager, Peter Buchanan said: “Our aim is to retain and disturb as little as possible of the original fabric and character of the building and upgrade it with minimal impact, using modern and traditional building skills.

“The form of the new sheds is a simple, clear span structure with a pitched roof.  This concept is taken from the traditional approach to railway architecture, where a simple design for a shed is repeated until the required amount of accommodation is achieved.”

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The Engine Shed will once again be taking part in the popular Doors Open Day, taking place on Saturday 12th September, at Forthside Quarter in Stirling. Throughout the daypeople will have the chance to come along and see how the project is progressing and with a range of fun hands-on activities and events, visitors will be able to get a real flavour of what the centre will be like when it opens next summer.

As part of Doors Open Day, Historic Scotland is also offering people the chance to take part in a hard hat tour of the construction site.

The building formed part of the extensive Forthside military compound in central Stirling between 1890 and the 1980s. Forthside was a core military depot storing and transporting supplies, equipment and munitions across the country using the rail and river network. The Engine Shed used small trains known as ‘Pugs’ to shunt wagons for loading with supplies for distribution.

The construction phase started in May 2015.  Historic Scotland is using its expertise in traditional building skills and materials to work closely with appointed building contractor, Esh Border Construction to convert the existing shed and construct the new sheds.

The interior walls of the Engine Shed have been restored and the floor has been returned to its original level.  Existing openings are being restored to their original proportions, with others being created to provide access to the new sheds and the foundation work has been prepared for the new sheds.

As well as being a centre for those in the heritage and construction sectors, the Engine Shed will also be a creative and inspiring space for schools, local people and visitors to get involved with building conservation through activities, exhibitions and events.

Peter Buchanan continues: “The Engine Shed will be for everyone, whether you’re an expert working in construction, a student hoping to extend your knowledge or an interested member of the public.”

The Engine Shed Doors Open Day, taking place on Saturday 12th September 2015, will run from 10am-4pm. Spaces for the hard hat site tours are very limited and booking is essential, as this is a construction site appropriate footwear is recommended.

To book a place on the tour please contact: [email protected]