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Earlston, Berwickshire

Earlston, Berwickshire

Conservation works to a mid-18th Century terrace


This terraced property, arranged over three floors, has been inhabited since at least 1788. It contributes to the local character of Earlston's main street.

The building underwent some alterations in the 19th century including the removal of astrigals and re-glazing of window sashes and changes to some fireplaces. However, few 20th century modernisations were made.

At one point, the property and its neighbour were both owned by the same family and were once interconnecting.

This case study demonstrates a sympathetic restoration by the owners, over a period of several years, to retain historic features whilst creating a modern family home.


© Historic Environment Scotland


A number of work items were completed as part of repairing and modernising this property. The property owners were determined to retain as much original fabric and features as possible and decided to maintain the original 18th dcentury symmetrical layout.

As the building is unlisted, Listed Building Consent was not required, however, planning permission and building warrant were required for some aspects of the work.

Structural Work

While there were no defects noted in the exterior masonry walls; degredation and washing out of mortar in the south-westerly chimney meant that water was able to penetrate the fabric, causing areas of damp in the attic.

The chimney was therefore taken down and rebuilt from ridge height. The existing sandstone was of too poor condition, so reclaimed colliery brick was used - in line with other chimney works in the terrace.

Repairs to the roof and rainwater goods were also required.


Barrel vaulted cellars, housing two bathrooms were also found to be damp due to being closef off with little ventilation.

External Walls

The property had been rendered with a cement based render in the 1960's. As no obvious damp issues were found, and the render was in good condition, it was decided to retain it but coat it with a mineral paint.


All existing single-glazed timber-framed windows were retained. New double-glazed conservation style rooflights were installed to replace existing and new windows and roof lantern were installed in the lean-to kitchen.

Internal Works

Work was undertaken to repair damaged floor joists. During this, packed heather was found between the joists. It had presumably been used for noise insulation but was removed during the restoration due to concerns regarding fire risk.

All six existing hearths were retained. Some were kept in use and two wood-burning stoves installed.

Lime plaster was retained and repaired throughout, except for one cellar which was left un-plastered. The majority of internal details and finishees were retained including joinery and ironmongery.


The owners, while keen to restore the property and maintain historical features, also wanted to balance this with energy saving measures.

The decision to retain the single-glazed windows had an impact on thermal performance but this was somewhat mitigated by the refurbishment and use of existing shutters. Conventional loft insulation was used in the attic spaces, and underfloor heating installed throughout.


The owners aimed to restore and repair the property in Earlston to maintain historical features and provide a modern family home.

Feedback from the owners has incidicated that they learned a lot about traditional techniques and materials. These approaches can be applied to other traditional buildings in Scotland and elsewhere.

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Case Study

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