Our Project


A History of the Project


At a Public Meeting held in November 2009, and attended by local residents, it was decided that the Wash House and its surrounding area was too important Historically, and Architecturally, to be allowed to continue to deteriorate.  Inaction would inevitably result in the Wash House building reaching the state where it would become in danger of collapse, or would require to be demolished to prevent danger to the public.

It was therefore proposed that:


  • ·           The Community would take over the Wash-house & give it a viable and long term use.
  • ·           It would be repaired, and together with the Well, and approach road, used for heritage related activities.
  • ·           Funding would be sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources.


Ideas include displaying local memorabilia; story telling for children; oral history; opening on Doors Open Day & Gala Day; talks; training guides to give tours; interpretation panels; producing a local guide to the  history of the Portmoak area; walking trail and promotional guide to whole area.

The Project would be led by the  Scotlandwell in Bloom group and supported by Take a Pride in Perthshire. A small committee was formed of  local residents.  The project was then defined by way of The Brief, which is set out below.


The Project Brief


PROJECT CLIENT: Scotlandwell in Bloom and Take a Pride in Perthshire Association (Dr Karen McDonnel)
PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR: Zoe Gamble, Project Development Adviser, Take a Pride in Perthshire Association



The Wash House, the Well, the Bleaching Green(now the playing field) and the Walled Garden  are at the heart of the village of Scotlandwell and add significantly to its distinctive character. The public Wash-House, designed by David Bryce, is an important feature of the designed setting and an intrinsic part of the cultural, social, historic and community identity of Scotlandwell and was used for its original purpose up until the 1960’s.


Between 1857 and 1860 Thomas Bruce of Arnot commissioned David Bryce to carry out an improvement scheme for the village of Scotlandwell. The Wash House bears the initials TBA and commemorated the death of Bruce’s wife.  Of traditional stone and slate construction, the building also reflects the use of local materials,  skills and craftsmanship. The Wash House’s size and location limit possible alternative beneficial use and therefore it has been used only for storage since the ‘60’s. Although the building  is now in poor condition, its simple construction, and lack of alteration means that it is still substantially ‘as built’.


In 2004 a survey indicated cost of building repairs at approximately £33,000. The building’s condition has deteriorated further since then. Careful consideration was given to options for re-use and a community consultation meeting held in November 2009 agreed that Scotlandwell in Bloom should  lead a project to repair the Wash House for community use. Since then, a project team has been formed; a local fundraising campaign has been launched and funds have been raised to allow the appointment of a professional team. A Heritage Lottery Fund pre-application was submitted in October 2009 and positive feedback was received.


The initial feasibility and design development stages of the project are being part-financed by Scotlandwell in Bloom, Perth & Kinross Council Rural Initiatives, Take a Pride in Perthshire Association and the Scottish Government and and the European Community Rural Tayside LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.  It is intended that capital funding will be secured from a variety of private charities & public agencies including the Heritage Lottery Fund.




Scotlandwell in Bloom (SiB) and Take a Pride in Perthshire are leading this project on behalf of the community. SiB has a successful track record of undertaking projects which contribute to sustainable continuous environmental improvement within the village of Scotlandwell.


1. Conserve and repair the Wash-house and Well structure. A simple, ‘light touch’ approach appropriate to the scale of the project and the future use of the building is required.

2. Improve access and setting by repairing and re-instating the cobbled lane.

3. Some original fixtures and fittings related to its use as a Wash House remain within the building and should be reinstated where possible; consideration to be given to possibly recreating missing original features sufficient to make the building ‘understandable’ as a Wash House (for example the boiler and washing troughs). However, it is not intended to create a ‘museum display’ as such, as the building should remain as flexible and useful as possible for the variety of activities envisaged (see below).

4. Provide basic interpretation which respect the environment and scale of the project – again a ‘light touch’ approach is required.

5. There are currently no services and consideration should be given to providing a power supply (and agree limits of usage in order to discourage light pollution and to respect local neighbours).

6. Provide alternative pedestrian access from adjacent housing development

7. Provide pedestrian and vehicle directional signage to encourage car parking away from the site and to link with existing signage related to Michael Bruce Way and Loch Leven Trail.

8. Carry out selective tree crowning/removal.



The building will be managed and maintained by the local community so it is essential that design should bear in mind the need for a simplicity and cost effectiveness in use.  

Best practice conservation techniques and materials must be used (minimal intervention) to meet the principles of recognised conservation bodies such as IHBC and Historic Scotland as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund.


DDA requirements should be met.


Careful consideration should be given to mitigating environmental impact.




It is intended that the Wash House is put to a variety of beneficial,  informal uses ranging from display to the public on selected days during the year, to use as an indoor base for events such as Halloween, Bonfire Night etc taking place on the playing fields. We would like the building to be as useful to the village as possible (subject to protecting it appropriately) and not limited purely as a heritage display.

Viewing the interior of the building

When conserved, the Wash House would continue to  be kept locked but would be available to view free of charge by visiting the local pub to collect and return the key. The buildings and the setting are already open to view at any time and are part of two local tourist trails  – The Michal Bruce Way and the Loch Leven Trail.

Opening to the public

It is intended to recruit and train a group of volunteer guides to open the building to visitors and explain the history and heritage of the well, the  was house,  the village and the surrounding area on a selected number of days each year (say six times per year) including for example Gala Day and during the Portmoak Festival.   It is also envisaged that the Wash House could be used for Story Telling for younger residents and visitors – a possible project with local school, creche, playgroup, Cubs, Brownies for example.

‘Memory bank’

It is porposed that the building (and this project) will be used as a ‘Memory Bank’ – by which we mean a physical and virtual focus – for the community to record and preserve their memories and the village’s heritage through, for example, an oral history project. It is proposed that  a free standing, purpose designed display case is housed with in the Wash House in which locally donated memorabilia could be displayed during the summer months. Assuming power is provided,  the case might have integral lighting but it is not intended that it should be environmentally controlled or meet museum standards. It should be fit for purpose:  sufficient to house and display local items of interest which, depending on their nature,  may be necessary to remove to safe keeping in the winter months.

Display of the building interior

It is proposed that the interior will be conserved ‘as found’ as far as possible,  which we believe is as originally designed for use as a Wash House.  Consideration should be given to replacing any missing features necessary to make the building ‘legible’ as a Wash House. An  illustrated information panel could  explain how the building was used. Note proposed display case above. Light levels are naturally low within the building and for H&S reasons this may dictate opening times.

External Information Panels

One or two external information panels are proposed (fixed either to the building or the adjacent wall) to explain the history and heritage of the well, wash-house, village and surrounding area and to link it to the Michael Bruce Way and the Loch Leven Trail. This should provide the first level of general information but also explain to visitors opening arrangements (ie collect key from the pub) and how to find further information (information leaflet and publication).


Further information

It is planned to 1) Prepare a history (incorporating a walking trail and promotional guide) of the Portmoak Area generally and Scotlandwell in particular to link all the villages together via the Michal Bruce Way and Loch Leven Trail. This would be a printed publication for purchase at the pub and other local places.  2) Prepare a simple, free,  leaflet about the history of Scotlandwell which could be picked up free of charge from the pub (together with the key to the Wash House) and other local outlets or downloaded from various websites.



The Wash House is a locally significant historic building,  vernacular architecture listed Grade C (S) 27.8.99. The Well Structure is listed Grade B, 5.10.71.  The group is Listed B.

The building lies within Scotlandwell’s Conservation Area. Article 4 directions have been imposed to protect the character of the village.

No known restrictive covenants or issues in Title Deeds (PKC letter 7.4.06)

All mineral rights reserved in favour of Thomas Francis Hope Bruce esq and his successors (noted in PKC letter 7.4.06)

Building is owned by PKC. In principle agreement to transfer responsibility to SiB agreed.

Adjacent access tracks, roads, parking area ownership unknown.



Conservation Area & designations. Private ownership of adjacent access lane is unclear.

Environmental impact.

Potential for vandalism.

Impact on neighbours.


Gaining capital funding Local fundraising and support.

Permissions and approvals (eg LBC; PKC; planning permission, change of use)


Scotlandwell In Bloom, residents, businesses, visitors Neighbours, adjacent residents with shared rights of access

Portmoak Community Council; PKC  (Rachel Howarth Conservation Officer; Malcolm Hill Estates Surveyor); Take a Pride in Perthshire Association; Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust (Andrew Driver)

Kinross-shire Civic Trust; Michael Bruce Museum and Way;TRACKS; Historic Scotland