Celebration of James Watt anniversary gathers steam

A Scottish Parliamentary motion in praise of the Scots inventor James Watt – who carried out the development of the steam engine at Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness – has gained cross-party support.

Local MSP, Cathy Peattie, tabled the motion in the Scottish Parliament to mark the 275th anniversary of Watt’s birth. She called the inventor “one of the greatest figures of industrial history”.

Leading figures at Holyrood, including former First Minister Jack McConnell, have given their support to the motion as The Friends of Kinneil charity launched a new campaign to stimulate fresh interest in Watt’s legacy. Last Friday, the group held a “James Watt Supper” in St. Mary’s Church Hall in Bo’ness to toast the immortal memory of the inventor. Further events are planned. The Bank of England is also due to release a new £50 note featuring James Watt.

Cathy Peattie said: “Watt was a brilliant Scottish engineer, one of the greatest in the world. We should celebrate his local connection and build upon it as part of our World Heritage Site. I congratulate the Friends of Kinneil on their initiative, and encourage the Scottish Government, Falkirk Council, Historic Scotland and other interested parties to get involved and back moves to raise the profile of Kinneil, which has huge potential as a visitor attraction.”

Bo’ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney – the convener of Falkirk Council’s leisure, tourism and community committee – said: “I’d like to thank Cathy and her fellow MSPs for supporting this motion in parliament. James Watt worked from a small outbuilding on Kinneil Estate to develop the steam engine. The building is still there, but many people feel we could make more of it – as well as some of the other assets within the park, which is part of a World Heritage Site. The local community and Falkirk Council is working well together, but we also need the financial and moral support of people in Government to make further progress at Kinneil.”

He added: “The 275th anniversary of Watt’s birth took place last week, but The Friends of Kinneil hope to do a number of events throughout this year to draw attention to the inventor’s local links and his the work he did, which literally changed the world.”

motion: S3M-07671 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Kinneil and the 275th Anniversary of the Birth of James Watt

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