Part of Historic Environment Scotland
An architectural drawing of a historical building as seen from the side view.

Researching Scotland’s Buildings

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Engine Shed

Enthusiast, Professional

Quite technical

Event Description

A key need when approaching a repair or conservation project is to understand the cultural significance of the building or site. To be able to do this you must be aware of its history and historical associations.

The first of our morning talks will introduce you to methods for dating and understanding the development of Scotland’s traditional architecture. This will include sharing key sources for researching our historic built environment. A discussion will follow on how to extract historical information about Scotland’s buildings from a wide range of popular (and some obscure) archival material.

The morning will conclude with a talk on the ways Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is revolutionising architectural research in Scotland. We will share highlights about the new Archives House facility and the innovative new website,, which will enable access to many HES heritage collections (Scran, Canmore, the Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Buildings at Risk Register etc) through a single portal.

A networking lunch will provide you with the opportunity to continue discussions and explore the Engine Shed.

In the afternoon, the speakers will invite attendees to view a display of rare archive material including cast iron foundry catalogues, builders’ treatises, construction textbooks, architectural guides and other unusual items from the HES Archive, the Engine Shed library and the speakers’ personal collections.

Learning outcomes

You will:

  • learn how to place a building, site or area within the historical development timeline of Scottish architecture, townscape and construction technology
  • understand how to use common research materials to help determine the cultural significance of an historic building or site in Scotland
  • learn how upcoming developments by HES Archives will facilitate and enhance how researchers can study Scotland’s historic architecture and built environment


  • Gordon Urquhart, Postgraduate Course Manager, Historic Environment Scotland
  • Fran Baseby, Deputy Head of Archives, Historic Environment Scotland

Wednesday 15 May 2024


£75.00 - full day learning session (in person)
In person ticket includes lunch and refreshments, and a chance to view rare archive material in the afternoon.

Refreshments will be provided on arrival and lunch will be catered. Please contact our events team with any special dietary requirements.



£45.00 - morning session (virtual attendance)
A virtual ticket to the morning learning session.


Engine Shed

Get directions

Dietary Requirements

  • Refreshments will be provided on arrival and lunch will be catered. Please contact our events team with any special dietary requirements.

Cancellation and Refunds

  • Visit Historic Environment Scotland's Consumer Terms Site for information on our cancellation and refund policy.