Penicuik House

East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society made a visit to Penicuik House and Estate on Saturday 10th September.

Penicuik House was destroyed by Fire in June 1899.When the Society last visited some years ago the house was still largely full of rubble and covered by vegetation.

As a result of the work carried out by the preservation trust in the last decade or so it is now a fine stabilised ruin.

The group was led through the building by one of the rangers who outlined the stages of the building of the great house.

It was possible to see evidence of the different stages and how building methods had changed in the 19th century and how the building was designed to make country house living as portrayed in plays like Downton Abbey possible.

The group saw some photos of the house in its pre fire state and also one showing  the incredible sang froid, or indifference, of  the tenant  family in residence, who continued their dinner on the lawn as the house burned.

The fire lasted three days.The situation was made worse by completely in adequate fire fighting equipment.

It was good to see how the trust was concerned about not just the house but also of the importance of the designed landscape and the sustainability of woodland and fauna, and how the estate was now playing an important part in the life of the community. At the conclusion of the visit the group had a useful discussion over tea.The president made a vote of thanks and expressed the society’s best wishes for the work of the Trust.

The next visit is to Brunstane House on Sunday 9th October.