ABBOT HOUSE is having a facelift as part of the next phase of upgrades to the historical building, which started this week.

Repairs are being carried out at Dunfermline’s oldest building, both internally and externally, including work to the lime plaster, windows, and roofing.

The house will re-open in a phased approach following the repairs. It will include classes in the outside workshop, creative rental space and the opening of an education centre on the first floor, including a digital archive of Abbot House.

The renovation of the coffee shop will follow on from current works and is now planned to re-open in early 2022 due to the knock-on effect of the pandemic.

Lynn Gemmell, Abbot House trustee, said: “Despite the significant challenges of the pandemic, we are delighted to be forging ahead with our repair programme. The restoration is essential to return the property to a usable condition and to generate the future income we need to maintain and restore the building for future generations.”

The external work has been financed in the main by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and is being carried out by heritage experts G Brown Stonemason Ltd, who won the contract through a tender process. They are also responsible for the recent upgrade of St Margaret’s Church at East Port.

The repair programme will be managed by William Napier, who is a chartered building surveyor and heritage consultant from Adams Napier Partnership.

The work is expected to last until the end of this summer and will include an opportunity for the community to attend heritage skills workshops.

The much-loved Abbot House is a category A townhouse that dates back to the 16th century and was operating as a heritage centre when it closed in August 2015 due to financial problems.

A new group, Abbot House (SCIO) has taken it over its operations.

The overall repair programme will total around £600,000 and would not have been possible without the financial contribution from Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Fife Council, Dunfermline area committee and the Common Good Fund.