Blackburn House is situated outside the villages of Blackburn and Seaﬁeld, halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. The only A-listed building in the area, it is both a signiﬁcant country house and a large farmhouse. Built by George Moncrieff in 1772, it is a ﬁve-bayed pedimented block with quadrant walls and hipped roof payilions, composed in a local Lothian sandstone. It has exceptional quality ornamental plasterwork in the Rococo style intact on the ground ﬂoor.
Moncrieff was 50 when he purchased Blackburn Estate having made his money in the West lndies presumably from the plantation industry. The landscape surrounding the house is similar to that of a plantation house in the eastern state of America which Moncrieff was obviously familiar with from his time in the West lndies
The local area had no real economic signiﬁcance until a road nearby was upgraded to form one of the two toll roads between Glasgow and Edinburgh thereby increasing the opportunity for commerce. The house and the surrounding landscape together form a signiﬁcant monument to the Agricultural Revolution in Scotland.
The house is also of local importance, as George Moncrieff was also responsible for founding the new town of Blackburn of which the house is a gateway landmark. Moncrieff was a renowned agricultural improver, and Blackburn House stands as a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1992 Blackburn House Trust was formed (which ran until 1994) to provide training in conservation skills. In 2003, Cockburn Conservation Trust commissioned a feasibility study in the restoration and re-use of the house, which was carried out by Simpson & Brown Architects. CCT eventually took ownership of the building in 2005, and successfully raised the funds towards the cost of the restoration work which started in October 2005. The ground ﬂoor rooms are of key importance, with due consideration shown the task of restoring the plaster work ceilings. The exterior has been rendered and limewashed in a pale ochre colour as it is thought it would haye been originally.
The total cost of the project is expected to be about £3,649,164. The restoration and re-use of Blackburn House is being made possible with generous funding from:
Heritage Lottery Fund. Historic Scotland, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh & Lothians, European Regional Deyelopment Fund, West Lothian Council.
Before the restoration