A Wee Dram at Kennetpans

#Clackmannanshire#Conserving Restoring#Historic Features

This Historic Environment Scotland led project took place at the iconic Kennetpans Distillery, a hidden gem of the Inner Forth.

During the works, you might have seen press articles in The Scotsman or Alloa AdvertiserKenneypans Distillery

Built in the early 18th century, Kennetpans was once the country's most technologically advanced distillery, using, as it did, the innovative Boulton and Watt 'Rotary Motion' steam engine. 

Previously an overgrown ruin, this project has seen archaeological investigations and scrub clearance before various specialist teams from Historic Environment Scotland began consolidating the structure to preserve it for the future.

Clearance work underway. Photo: Kirsty McAlister

The first phase of the archaeological work was carried out in July 2015 by AOC Archaeology, with the intention of helping us understand more about the building before targeted clearance commenced. Among other discoveries, the archaeological test pits revealed flagstone floors, previously unrecorded walls and a drain or culvert - a great start to the project!

Clearance and consolidation work continued in 2017- 2018 and work was undertaken by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). After the initial archaeological investigation, carried out by AOC Archaeology (which revealed internal brick ‘surfaces’, charcoal and tile fragments, and stone flagged floors), encroaching vegetation was cleared from the main distillery building, a process that was assisted by IFLI’s Landscape Management Trainees. Specific consolidation works were then able to take place. This included extensive masonry repairs, including some areas where taking down and rebuilding was required. A number of new lintels to window and door openings were installed, and extensive areas of repointing carried out. The wallheads were consolidated and capped with clay and turf. Improved interpretation has been installed, and throughout the project, an extensive measured survey project has been conducted which has enhanced the record of the site.

Related projects include the provision of a bursary, jointly funded by IFLI and the University of Stirling, to Hazel Ramage, who completed her MSc project entitled Kennetpans Distillery: The Site and the Wider Landscape. This has added to what was previously known about this fascinating site.  

Further, on the weekend of 9-10 July 2016, a group of volunteers carried out a variety of surveys of the distillery warehouse. Led by AOC Archaeology, the surveys ranged from straightforward drawings to more technical ways of recording the structure, including photogrammetry and laser scanning. Newly trained volunteers produced an excellent photogrammetry survey of the fireplace, which can be viewed here.  A laser scan point cloud survey of the western elevation of the building was also carried out and we have uploaded the results to our Youtube channel.

The Kennetpans Trust run a super website, on which there is much more information about the site: here.