The Bo’ness Hippodrome will host a special, free evening about James Watt, his life and legacy on the evening of Tuesday, January 21.

It’s the same week as Watt’s birthday and will look back on a successful year celebrating the Scottish inventor.

Watt worked on his development of the steam engine at a cottage workshop – which still stands – just a few miles from the Hippodrome.

The event on January 21 is due to start at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. (Doors will open at 6.30 p.m.) Short films about Watt’s life will be shown. There will also be expert speakers reflecting on Watt’s story.

They will include:

  • Dr Miles Oglethorpe from Historic Environment Scotland;
  • Professor Gordon Masterton from the University of Edinburgh;
  • Ian Shearer, chair of The Friends of Kinneil; and
  • Dr Nina Baker, an engineering historian.

Book tickets via Eventbrite.

January 21, Hippodrome, Bo’ness

7 P.M. start (Doors open at venue at 6.30 p.m.) The café/bar will be open throughout the event for drinks/snacks.

WELCOME – MILES OGLETHORPE , Historic Environment Scotland
FILM “Exploring the Life and Times of James Watt”
SPEAKER – NINA BAKER – Watt’s musical side
FILM – Kennetpans, Clackmannanshire
FILM– Watt’s Engine at Verdant Works, Dundee
SPEAKER – IAN SHEARER – The story of James Watt and John Roebuck at Kinneil
FILM – Carron Ironworks (archive film)
FILM – Watt’s London workshop
FILM – James Watt – scientist and player, with Prof David Miller
SPEAKER – GORDON MASTERTON – James Watt: Hero or Villain?
FILM – Soho House, Birmingham
FILM NINE – World’s oldest steam engine / Smethwick engine
THANKS – Miles Oglethorpe, Historic Environment Scotland
FILM TEN – James Watt A Great Enlightenment Man

The event should finish around 9 p.m.

The event has been organised by the partners behind the Watt bicentenary celebrations in Scotland during 2019. The year marked the 200th anniversary of Watt’s death and the 250th anniversary of Watt’s patent to improve the efficiency of the steam engine.


This event has been supported by Historic Environment Scotland. HES is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. Scottish Charity No. SC045925.


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

The event is open to all. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

There is on-street parking near the Hippodrome. There are also free car parks short walks away at Seaview Place and Union Street, Bo’ness. Information on visiting the venue here.

Is the Hippodrome accessible for people with disabilities?

There is a ramped access to the Hippodrome and wheelchair spaces within the Hippodrome. If you have particular needs, please get in touch. More accessibility information here.

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Email:    The PR Store is helping to organise this event for the partners.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

Yes. If you can’t attend, you can pass on your ticket to a friend.

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends?

That’s absolutely fine.

Who’s behind all this?

The event has been organised by Historic Environment Scotland and partners. We should also thank all the people and organisations who have supported the event:

Inner Forth Landscape Initiative
IET – Institution of Engineering and Technology
Historic Environment Scotland
Falkirk Council / Falkirk Community Trust
History West Midlands and the University of Birmingham
Birmingham Museums
Dundee Heritage Trust
Heriot-Watt University
Inverclyde Council
Glasgow Life
Glasgow University
The PR Store – and all the Watt 2019 partners