Law’s Close, Kirkcaldy
Economic regeneration of a coastal town through restoration and adaptation of 16th Century Merchant’s House into mixed-use premises including flexible offices, educational facilities, and retail units.
Law’s Close is one of the finest surviving 16th Century townhouses in Scotland which took its present form when it belonged to a ship owning family called Law in the late 1500s. The high status of the building is expressed in the fine interior decorations found throughout the building such as painted ceilings, plaster mouldings, multiple glazed windows and the use of cut-stone (ashlar work).
The building has an extensive collection of architectural and historically important details within its walls including a medieval wall painting, timber paneling, 16th century painted ceilings, a late 17th Century plasterwork ceiling and a 17th century wall painting of a ship possibly commemorating the arrival of Anne of Denmark to Scotland in 1589.
After a 20 year restoration project undertaken in several phases; the final phase of which completed the restoration and adaptation of the building to re-open it as a premises for small local businesses, providing office space and retail units, predominantly for the creative industries.
Throughout the project archaeological investigations and historic research were carried out. Phases of the building, significant features and details were all recorded and informed the restoration work and contributed to the permanent exhibition within the Education Room.
The significant interior decorations have been repaired and several lost structural features restored and rebuilt. The property offers comfortable and unique office accommodation for its tenants who include a traditional stonemason and a holistic therapist, as well as a number of small charities. The two retail units are occupied by the Tourist Information Centre and a Craft Shop/Cafe.
An educational room in the courtyard of the building offers workshop space and the building is frequently used for art exhibitions and open days. The long rigg garden has been developed, as part of the Kirkcaldy Riggs Gardens Project, to relate a modern garden design to reflect the history of the house. It is open to the public and includes an outside performance space. This is managed as a community garden.
Law’s Close was officially opened to the public in 2005 by the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
THANK YOU to the following funders and supporters without whom this project would not have been possible:
Historic Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Enterprise Fife, Fife Environment Trust, European Regional Development Fund, Fife Council, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, The Russell Trust, Architectural Heritage Fund
With thanks to the Kirkcaldy Riggs Townscape Heritage Initiative.
‘It is a privilege to work in such a significant and interesting historic building which has been carefully restored and conserved. Law’s Close provides a refreshing alternative to the bland offices typically available to lease, and a cost-effective alternative to home-working’
Laing Traditional Masonry Group; Tenant.
Building Developer and Owner
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust
Operator upon Completion
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust
Simpson & Brown Architects
Peter Stephen & Partners
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Interior decoration advisers
The Conservation Studio, Edinburgh
John Richards Landscape Architects
Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen
(Building – Final phase)
Project cost (Garden)
- No awards at this time
- Sorry the Project Sheet is not yet available
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - History of Kirkcaldy
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - Trade
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - The building as found
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - The 16th Century merchant’s House
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - Building development
- Law’s Close interpretation panel - SHBT restoration
- Law’s Close Funder’s Board
Copyright SHBT 2016