Sites and Monument Record: James Watt's Cottage (SMR 317)

Small single-storey cottage immediately SW of Kinneil House. 3-bays, rubble built. An iron cylinder from a steam engine stands outside of the building. It was placed here in 1945 from the Schoolhouse Pit.

Object detail

Site type
Site status
Site history notes
The cottage was erected in 1768/9 on the instructions of Dr John Roebuck so that James Watt could conduct his experiments on improving steam engines in secret. Watt conducted experiments at Kinneil first in 1766, then in 1769-70.
Dr Black [1796?] noted that "A small engine was soon built in one of the offices of Kinneil House, near Borrowstoness, where various trials were made and some difficulties surmounted, so as to give satisfaction." In 1768 Roebuck had told Matthew Boulton that a small engine had been erected at Kinneil several years earlier.
On 9 November 1768 Watt wrote to Roebuck "On considering the engine to be erected with you, I think the best place will be to erect a small house in the glen behind Kinneil".
It would appear that Joseph Hately, engine erector, was in Bo'ness in October 1769 visiting Mr Addison's brewery. According to Roebuck junior Hately ventured into the attic of Kinneil House to spy on Watt's experiments.
Watt assisted with the maintenance of the Newcomen engines already at Bo;ness. He erected a small engine at the Taylors Pit and in 1770 repaired the Wester Pit engine and an engine at Dunmore.
Site conservation date
Site grid ref
NS 9819 8052
Conservation status


My shortlist

Public comments

Be the first to comment on this object record.

Google reCaptchaThis site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.