Work completes on James Bruce Obelisk restoration project

Work has completed on the restoration of the Category A listed James Bruce Obelisk in Falkirk.

Work has completed on the restoration of the Category A listed James Bruce Obelisk in Falkirk.

The James Bruce Obelisk, commissioned in 1785 by James Bruce in memory of his beloved wife Mary, commemorates James Bruce of Kinnaird, a descendant of the most famous King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. 

The monument, made of cast iron, reflects the pinnacle of industrial artistry of its time as one of the earliest cast iron monuments of its time. After being relocated temporarily in 1993, the Obelisk had shown signs of aging and wear at its current site in Larbert Old Parish Church.

The project involved meticulous repairs and conservation of the original fabric and a faithful replication of missing details. Additionally, the pathway leading to and surrounding the tomb area has been renewed.

A group of people taking part in a ribbon cutting celebrating the restoration of a historic memorial
Image credit: Falkirk Council

"Restoring the James Bruce Obelisk was not just about preserving a historical monument, but about reviving a piece of cultural heritage for future generations. Seeing the Obelisk returned to its former glory and its rightful place has been an incredibly rewarding process.

The opening ceremony demonstrated the significance of this monument to the local community. The conservation and restoration works undertaken are a great showcase of the need for specialist heritage skills within the construction industry"

Damien Woolliscroft, Associate at Buttress's Leeds Studio

Michael McGuiness Head of Growth, Planning and Climate Change, Falkirk Council, said: "The work that has been carried out on restoring this great historical artefact has brought it back to pristine condition and will be there for many decades to come for visitors to admire.

He added: “This project has not only restored a significant historical monument but also united the community, emphasising the importance of our shared heritage and the world-leading craftsmanship of the Carron Iron Works during the Industrial Revolution."

Gail Williamson, Grants Operations Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said, “It's wonderful to see the Bruce Obelisk return home to Larbert this week. Work to repair the Obelisk has provided the opportunity for the community to get hands-on with their local history and learn about vital conservation skills.

“The project has also brought wider awareness of the Carron Ironworks and their place at the heart of the industrial revolution in Scotland.

Led by Falkirk Council, the intricate restoration process was executed by iron restoration specialists Lost Art Limited, based in Wigan. The project was funded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Falkirk Council through their Bereavement Services and Place-Based Funding streams, Avondale Environmental, part of the NPL Group, through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund; Falkirk Local History Society, and Falkirk Preceptory and Priory also made generous contributions.


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