Inverkeithing pupils create Fife’s future heritage

A lightbulb moment: pupils look on in amazement while taking part in the heritage skills event

Thanks to the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project, pupils at Inverkeithing High School recently had the opportunity to try out traditional construction skills.

Over 70 pupils learned about techniques and materials in traditional construction through a week of traditional skills practical activities.

Fife Council roofers showed their expertise in traditional roofs and pupils tried out slate dressing and nailing dressed slates to a rig following a traditional pattern. The council’s heritage masonry team showed pupils how to set out stone and tool the surfaces using chisels to achieve different decorative effects.

The crucial role of lime in traditional buildings, in mortars and renders, was creatively explained using biscuits to replicate porous stone in a rainstorm!

Pupils also used infra-red cameras to see heat distribution and loss in buildings, and even hidden building defects. Traditional buildings often have detailing that can be complex, and time consuming to record. Using 3D scanning apps, pupils understood accuracy in recording complex buildings could be greatly speeded up. They also learned that baseline recording is the vital first step in building maintenance programmes.

Eight pupils who had really enjoyed their masonry session, or who the mason tutors spotted as having real skill and potential, went on to a full day masterclass, with master carver David Lindsay.

David had taken the school logo and marked up the complex cog and letter design onto eight separate stones. The pupils then worked a section each, to create a fantastic collaborative effort, and a piece of heritage that will last for decades, if not even centuries to come.

Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration Project is supported by Fife Council, Historic Environment Scotland and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Developing the Young Workforce teacher, Rebecca Horn, said: “The traditional skills week has been a real highlight of the term, and the skills tasters were a great opportunity. It was impressive to see the pupils who’d enjoyed masonry carving the school logo.”

Convener of the South and West Fife Area Committee, Councillor David Barratt added: “The opportunities for high school pupils in the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project have been excellent, and they’ve shown real talent. The carved logo is a significant piece of our future heritage.”

Emma Griffiths, Training and Development Officer with Fife Historic Buildings Trust said: “The pupils were outstanding, and it was a real pleasure to work with such talented and enthusiastic young people. When works begin to partly repave in stone in Inverkeithing town centre, it is great that pupils will be prioritised for hard hat tours. They’ll see skilled individuals working Scottish sandstone, to enhance the hard landscape in the centre of their historic town.”

Carving the school logo into stone

Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration scheme is delivered by Fife Historic Buildings Trust on behalf of Fife Council. More information on the project is available at or by emailing