20 Great Buildings of Stirling

To coincide with the 2022 Stirling Doors Open Days, Stirling City Heritage Trust has launched 20 Great Buildings of Stirling, an Accessible Publication, tailored for people living with dementia, in care communities, and New Scots.

The annual Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates the historic built environment, inviting people to step inside some of Scotland’s historic buildings that are normally closed to the public. Stirling City Heritage Trust is this year releasing an Accessible Publication, which will allow Doors Open Days to be taken into care facilities, reaching people who are not able to participate in person.

The Accessible Publication project, celebrating some of the wonderful buildings that grace the streets of Stirling has been created in partnership with Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum. Inspired by the Stirling Smith’s 20 Great Paintings: Highlights from the Stirling Smith’s Art Collection publication released in 2021.

Launch of 20 Great Buildings at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum on 7th September.

20 Great Buildings of Stirling has been designed to be easy to access, with large text size, easy to turn pages, and accessible interpretation for each building, opening the subjects up for conversations and reminiscence. The book takes its readers on a journey through the streets of Stirling City Centre, encouraging readers to explore Stirling’s architectural heritage, learning more about the history of the city and its people.

Chairman of Stirling City Heritage Trust, David Black, says ‘The book is a great example of local organisations working in partnership with each other, sharing resources and expertise. The publication will help parts of our community who can sometimes be forgotten about, those who live in care homes. While it may be difficult for them to get out and visit Stirling’s landmark buildings, this book can help them to remember the places where they lived or visited in the past. I am sure it will be a much-welcomed resource and also by New Scots who have arrived recently to our city and want to learn more about its history.’

Engagement in local history is a vital part of place-making, it empowers communities to take ownership at a local level in the environment, increases wellbeing, and builds community cohesion and communication. This booklet invites readers to explore Stirling in a safe environment, allowing groups to reminisce and share stories together.

Heather Carroll, Exhibitions and Events Officer, The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, says: ‘When we first published our 20 Great Paintings book it was to help combat loneliness and isolation in care communities during lockdown. However, after lockdown lifted, we quickly saw how these books were still a valued resource for many. It’s wonderful to see the legacy continuing with the 20 Great Buildings book from SCHT.’


Residents of William Simpsons Care Home enjoying 20 Great Buildings of Stirling.


Residents of William Simpsons Care Home enjoying 20 Great Buildings of Stirling.

The publication is being made available to a wide variety of organisations, including Forth Valley Welcome, a registered charity that supports New Scots (refugees) resettling in the area. Stirling’s dementia support services will also be benefiting, including Townbreak.

Among the groups that have already received copies of the publication are William Simpsons Care Homes. Rachel Smith, Activities and Media Manager says: ‘These books have sparked some great conversations and debates amongst residents as to which they think should top the list of the greatest buildings of Stirling. They’ve encouraged residents to reminiscence, sharing their memories and stories of the places they’ve lived and the changes they’ve seen.’

The project has been funded by Historic Environment Scotland and the booklet is being made available free of charge to local care homes, community support groups, and third sector organisations. Expressions of interest in copies of the publication are welcome, please get in touch with Stirling City Heritage Trust for more details.

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