Scotland’s Endangered Houses

By Mary Miers and Marcus Dean (1990, SAVE Britain’s Heritage)

This bitter-sweet book played a leading role in opening the public’s eyes to the plight of a significant swathe of Scotland’s historic architecture in the late 20th century and coincided with an upsurge of interest in the history and potential of the buildings it features. Travelling the length and breadth of Scotland and its islands in the late 1980s, the authors photographed and recorded 140 country houses in varying states of decay, ranging from tower houses and modest laird’s dwellings to Palladian villas and baronial castles and mansions. Many still stand in gloriously unspoilt settings with spectacular views; others, surrounded by caravans or grim and insensitive development, represent a cautionary tale. Images of the houses in an abandoned state are juxtaposed with historic photographs—most previously unpublished and obtained from owners, public and private archives—and accompanied by engaging historical descriptions and accounts of the current state of each house. The book is a must for anybody interested in Scotland’s architectural heritage and cannot fail to fascinate all those who have ever dreamt of rescuing a historic building. Co-author Mary Miers went on to establish Scotland’s Buildings At Risk Register in 1990, combining the campaigning philosophy of the leading charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage with the matchmaking skills of a dating agency intent on marrying up keen potential restorers with buildings in need of rescue.