Work starts on Hill House 'box'

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WORK got underway this week on the start of the ‘Box the Hill House’ project at the iconic Helensburgh mansion.

Ruth Currie, granddaughter of Walter Blackie for whom the house was built, placed a special spade in the ground at the Upper Colquhoun Street site.

Since it was built more than a century ago, the house has been absorbing the rain, putting the building and its unique interiors at risk. Now the National Trust for Scotland is surrounding it with an innovative chainmail structure to protect it from the elements.

This semi-permeable metallic mesh pavilion, designed by award-winning architects Carmody Groarke, will allow the building to dry out over a number of years. In doing so, further conservation work can be commenced to save the world-famous house for generations to come.

The house and gardens will be closed to the public during the construction of the ‘Box’ but are expected to reopen in late spring, complete with new raised walkways around the exterior of the house and over the roof.

These will give visitors a completely new way of experiencing the Hill House and Mackintosh’s design, as well as offering views over the Clyde estuary.

A community hut will also be open on site regularly over the winter, giving visitors the chance to drop in tosee how the build is going.

Richard Williams, the trust’s general manager for Glasgow and West Scotland, said: “What we’re doing here is a rescue plan for the long term and will, we’re sure, protect this incredible building for future generations.

“Mackintosh was a pioneer and a visionary and we’re reflecting that spirit in our approach to saving his domestic masterpiece. This is a project that has been many, many years in the making and it is wonderful to be at the point that we’re now seeing work begin to save such a significant place.”

Thousands of people have already donated to the charity’s Box the Hill House campaign which was launched in February.